Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Geopolitical Divisions of North America-1763

Between 1750-1763 there were major changes in the geopolitical boundaries of North America.

By the middle 1750’s France was loosing control of it’s territories west of the Appalachian Mountains to English traders crossing those same mountains from the British colonies.  Rather than see all of it’s Louisiana colony lost to the hated English, France ceded all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to Spain as a “gift” in November 1762.  

In 1763 treaties were signed between Spain, England, and France ending all hostilities between these nations.  As a result of these treaties, France ceded all of it’s remaining holdings in North America to England and likewise, Spain ceded control of Florida to England.  

Although Louisiana had been ceded to Spain in 1762, Spain did not send a governor to take possession as a Spanish province until 1769.  In the meantime France continued to administer the colony.  Part of the reason for the delay may have been that Spain saw little urgency to control a territory that would do little to enrich the home country.  Furs had little value in Spain, which had no artisans to fabricate them into useful products.  Indigo and tobacco, other products of the colony would compete with established sources of these goods from other locations in Spain’s empire.

Although I’ve drawn hard lines on the map to designate the boundaries between the different territories, in actuality, at the time the national entities making these claims had little idea of the extent and location of many of these boundaries.    

Click on the thumbnail below for a full sized map.