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A History of French Louisiana: The Company of the Indies, 1723--1731 (Hardcover)

Marcel Giraud

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ISBN 10: 0807115711 / ISBN 13: 9780807115718
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Hardcover. The first four volumes of Marcel Giraud's History of French Louisiana, published in France between 1951 and 1974, represent the most exhaustive and authoritative scholarly study of France'.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 544 pages. 0.943. Bookseller Inventory # 9780807115718

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Title: A History of French Louisiana: The Company ...

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

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The first four volumes of Marcel Giraud's History of French Louisiana, published in France between 1951 and 1974, represent the most exhaustive and authoritative scholarly study of France's establishment in the lower Mississippi Valley. In this fifth and final volume of Giraud's magnum opus, published in the United States for the first time ain a translation by Brian Pearce, Giraud unravels the complex story of the Company of the Indies between 1723 and 1731 and traces the development of the Louisiana colony during those difficult years.When the Company of the Indies was reorganized after the defection of Scotsman John Law, its leaders faced economic and political conflicts in both France and America. Managerial abuses and power struggles within the new system often interfered with the administrative process and created divisions of loyalties among officials and settlers.Political leaders were not, however, the only ones struggling for control within the new territory. As Giraud relates, Jesuit and capuchin religious leaders were also at odds with one another over the division of territory in which they were to minister. Giraud explores the strained relationship between the two orders and the political motives an associations that influenced their leaders. Despite political and religious turmoil within the territory, the foundations of colonial society were being laid in New Orleans and Mobile. Attributing the growth of these areas to agricultural expansion and to the introduction of slavery, Giraud offers a lively, detailed description of the economic and social development of Louisiana's nascent urban centers.Giraud also traces the expansion of colonial control into the interior of the colony -- the Illinois country, Nachitoches, and the Natchez country. It was the neglect of the defense of these outposts, blamed by Giraud of the Company's emphasis on economic development and its strict fund-sharing policy, that ultimately resulted in its downfall. On November 28, 1729, angry Indians attacked the small French garrison in Natchez, massacring numerous soldiers and civilians. This attack marked the beginning of war with the Natchez tribe and the withdrawal of the Company of the Indies from Louisiana.

From the Back Cover:

The death of Louis XIV in 1715 and the accession of his more progressive younger brother as Regent of France might have brought some hopeful changes to Louisiana, France's tiny, struggling outpost on the Gulf of Mexico. However, the continuation of the debilitating regime of the merchant Antoine Crozat and the extreme impoverishment of the French treasury following the disastrous wars of Louis XIV meant that no radical changes were possible. Instead, these few years at the beginning of the Regency represented a period of transition for the colony, when the need for a new administrative regime for Louisiana was met in France by a growing awareness of the strategic and economic potential of the Mississippi settlements. All of these conditions prepared the way for the appearance on the scene of the Company of the West in 1717. In his detailed survey of this brief but crucial period of Louisiana's history, Marcel Giraud assesses the new mood and conditions in France - the personnel and objectives of the Council of the Navy, which oversaw the colony's administration; the advances in scientific opinion and their impact on Louisiana; and the political, fiscal, and economic conditions that created a new appreciation of the colony in official circles - while describing actual conditions in the colony. Giraud portrays the Louisiana of 1715 as a few clusters of squalid buildings scattered along the Gulf Coast from Alabama to Natchitoches, inhabited by largely dispirited settlers and soldiers who for the most part lacked the barest necessities of life. Crozat's essentially self-serving regime made this a period of virtual stagnation. Rivalries among the colony's administrative personnel, especiallybetween the governors and the Le Moyne family and their supporters, impeded development, as did the inadequacy of the priests sent to minister to the colony; the paucity of women, farmers, and skilled workers; and the infertile soil around the sites chosen for the forts and settlements. Relations with the indigenous populations were hindered by the lack of acceptable trade goods, as were efforts by the French colonists to establish commercial relations with the neighboring Spanish colonies. At the same time, Louisiana bore the encroachments of better-supplied British traders who were moving into Alabama and the Illinois country and developing regular trade with Indian tribes whom the French claimed as their own clients. With his customary thoroughness and scrupulous attention to documentary details, Marcel Giraud provides a vivid description of a struggling colony hovering between extinction and the spark of growth that would, in years to come, establish it as a viable French outpost in North America. Despite the obstacles facing Louisiana during these difficult years of transition, the colony survived to experience new expansion and development under the Company of the West.

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