Immigrants to Colonial Louisiana

Colonial Louisiana was made up of people of French, Canadian, Spanish, Latin American, Anglo, German, and African descent. Spaniards were the first into the Mississippi River region in the 16th Century. In 1681 the French explorer LaSalle explored the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. In honor of King Louis of France, he called the territory from Canada to the Gulf Louisiana. In 1699, Iberville explored the Gulf Coast and established French forts.

The King of France gave the Compagnie des Indies a 25 year monopoly in 1717 to bring 6000 white settlers and 3000 black slaves to the Louisiana colony. Those who survived disease, malnutrition and the mosquito-infested swamps often took off to search for gold.

Compagnie des Indes awarded large land grants called concessions to wealthy landowners. These landowners then paid the expenses for the Engagees who were indentured for three years. At the end of that period the Engagees became land owners with grants of their own.

In 1719 the City of New Orleans was founded. On 6 June 1719, two ships of the Compagnie des Indes, the Grand Duc du Maine and the Aurore disembarked at Pensacola from Guinea with a cargo of 500 black slaves. They began to prepare for the eminent Spanish attack.

In 1719 John Law, originally from Scotland, and now Treasurer of the King's coffers in France, devised a scheme to populate Louisiana. Free transportation was promised. About 10,000 Swiss, German, Belgian and Austrian families showed up at the French ports. The ships were not ready to transport them. Crowded quarters, exposure to the elements, lack of food, unsanitary conditions and disease took the lives of half. When the Pest Ships finally sailed, conditions had not improved and over half the passengers died in route to Louisiana.

These ships landed in Biloxi Louisiana in 1720. The French were ill-prepared for boatloads of sick and starving immigrants and more deaths occurred. Some of the settlers were sent to a concession on the Arkansas River where many were massacred by Indians. The few Germans who came to New Orleans demanded passage back to Europe. They were released from bondage and given land grants along the Mississippi River above New Orleans.

 

Ships Passenger Lists to Louisiana 1718

Count de Toulouse - La Rochelle France to Louisiana 15 Nov. 1718

Ships Passenger Lists to Louisiana 1719

Le Philippe - La Rochelle France to Louisiana 25 Jan. 1719
Le St. Louis (The St. Louis) - La Rochelle France to Louisiana 21 March 1719
The Marie - La Rochelle France to Louisiana 28 May 1719
The Union - La Rochelle France to Louisiana 28 May 1719
Les Deux Freres (Two Brothers) - La Rochelle France to Louisiana 19 Aug. 1719
Le Marechal d'Estrees - La Rochelle France to Lousiana 19 Aug. 1719
Le Duc de Noailles - La Rochelle France to Lousiana 16 Sept. 1719
La Duchesse de Noailles - From Louisiana to La Rochelle France (no date)
 

Ships Passenger Lists to Louisiana 1785

L'Amitie France to Louisiana New Orleans on November 8, 1785
Le Bon Papa France to Louisiana New Orleans on July 29, 1785
La Bergere France to Louisiana New Orleans on August 15, 1785
Le Beaumont France to Louisiana New Orleans on August 19, 1785
La Caroline France to Louisiana New Orleans on December 17, 1785
Le Saint-Remi France to Louisiana New Orleans on September 10, 1785
La Ville d'Archangel France to Louisiana New Orleans on December 3, 1785

 

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