Tag Archives: Louisiana

Today in Texas History – November 27

Major Land & Water Features - Louisiana

From the Annals of the Borders –  In 1941, the State of Louisiana lost its legal challenge to the eastern border of Texas.  Louisiana claimed that its western boundary extended not to the middle of the Sabine River but to the western bank.  The exact boundary has been the subject of much legal wrangling.

Price Daniel Sr. wrote an informative if somewhat dull history of the boundary dispute for the Southwestern Law Journal.

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.

Today in Texas History – October 20

From the Annals of Treason – In 1807, former Vice-President Aaron Burr was acquitted on charges of treason.  Burr’s treason trial arose from his ambitious plan for the United States to seize the Spanish colonies in the Southwest and establish a great American empire. After leaving the vice presidency in disgrace in 1804, he toured the west as part of a conspiracy aimed towards invading Texas.  Burr made no real secret of his plan, as in 1805 he announced in Kentucky and New Orleans that he planned to overthrow the Spanish empire in America.

In 1806, he negotiated for the purchase of land near Natchitoches, Louisiana. From there he planned to establish a colony that would be a launching point for his projected invasion of Mexico.  His treason trial was based on a supposed plan to begin a western rebellion against the United States and form a break-away republic in the west. Gen. James Wilkinson, American military commander in New Orleans, however, informed President Thomas Jefferson that he had received a coded letter from Burr disclosing a plan to seize control of the Mississippi valley.  When his party of colonists set sail from Nashville in December 1808, Jefferson ordered Burr arrested for treason and high misdemeanors.   When Burr arrived at Bayou Pierre, LA on January 10, he learned that he had been betrayed. On January 17 he surrendered to the governor of Mississippi Territory. After an attempt to escape from the authorities he was tried in Richmond, Virginia. After a prolonged trial Justice John Marshall ruled that Burr was not guilty of treason but was guilty of contemplating an invasion of Spanish territory. He was placed under $3,000 bond.