1519–1797 » 1779-1797, Spanish Dominion

1779: Spain declares war on England

1779: Bernardo Galvez, governor of Spanish Louisiana, captures Natchez and puts it under Spanish control

September 1783: Treaty of Paris signed

The war between the United States and Britain officially ended.  The treaty provided for the transfer of West Florida, including the southern half of present day Mississippi, to Spain.  America gained possession of Mississippi north of the 32 degree 28 minute parallel.

1786: United States signs treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws at Hopewell, South Carolina

1787: Northwest Ordinance of 1787 bans slavery north of Ohio River

1789: Manuel Gayoso de Lemos chosen governor of Natchez region

"Concord," home of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos (MDAH Collection)
"Concord," home of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos

Commandant Esteban Miro created the civilian government.

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1791: Fort Nogales completed

It was built near confluence of Yazoo and Mississippi rivers in area north of present-day Vicksburg.  The fort was intended to stop American attempts to expand into Spanish West Florida.

1795: Cotton gin introduced to Natchez region

Cotton Gin
Cotton Gin

Developed by Eli Whitney in Georgia in 1793, the mechanical gin separated the seeds from the cotton fiber, speeding processing. Its arrival in Mississippi boosted cotton production and increased reliance on slave labor.

October 1795: United States and Spain sign Treaty of San Lorenzo (Pinckney’s Treaty)

Map showing 31st parallel as southern boundary of U.S. over West Florida (MDAH Collection)
Map showing 31st parallel as southern boundary of U.S. over West Florida

Treaty established the 31st parallel as the boundary between the United States and Spanish Florida. Spain relinquished a large area, including Natchez and key forts along the Mississippi River, and granted the United States free navigation of the river.

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1797: U. S. Army Captain Isaac Guion arrives in Natchez to enforce Treaty of San Lorenzo

Hoping to retain control of Mississippi, Spain had delayed implementing the treaty.

February 1797: Tensions rise with Spain as Americans arrive in Natchez

Map of America, showing West Florida, 1794 (MDAH Collection)
Map of southeast, showing 31st parallel

Andrew Ellicott arrived in Natchez to survey the 31st parallel as required by the Treaty of San Lorenzo.  A strong proponent of American expansion, Ellicott clashed with Spanish officials and defiantly raised American flag.

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