Tag Archives: James Wilkinson

Today in Texas History – November 5

From the Annals of Neutrality –  In 1806, the United States and Spain established the “Neutral Ground” between Louisiana and Texas.  After the Louisiana Purchase, the US and Spain had been unable to agree on the boundary between Louisiana and Texas despite Spain having once controlled the area.  To avoid an armed clash over the disputed land, Gen. James Wilkinson and Lt. Col. Simón de Herrera, the American and Spanish military commanders, entered into an agreement establishing a Neutral Ground between Texas and Louisiana. Even the boundaries of the NG were never exactly prescribed.  The NG was generally described as being bordered by the Arroyo Hondo on the east and the Sabine River on the west.  The Gulf of Mexico clearly constituted the Southern boundary and most likely the thirty-second parallel of latitude formed the northern boundary. Despite an agreement that no settlers would be permitted in the NG, settlers from both Spanish and American territory moved in.  Predictably, the NG became fertile ground for illegal activity and the US and Spain cooperated in sending joint military expeditions in 1810 and 1812 to enforce order and expel undesirables. The US obtained ownership of the NG with the signing of the Adams-Onis Treaty in 1821.