World History

Why did France take Louisiana back from the Spanish?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks


  1. After holding the Louisiana territory and the important city of New Orleans for years, the French ceded its control to Spain in 1762. Having just suffered damaging defeats in the Seven Years' War, the French wanted to prevent losing the colony to the British, so King Louis XV gave the land to his cousin, King Carlos II of Spain.

    By the end of the 18th century, Napoleon had grabbed the French throne and was looking westward to increase his empire. The secret Treaty of San Ildefonso between Spain and France, signed in 1800, gave the King of Spain's son-in-law power over Tuscany in trade for returning the Louisiana Territory to French control. For the Spanish, New Orleans had been a mixed blessing: Spain brought in great wealth from its expensive tariffs, but suffered from dealing with the otherwise troublesome city, which was completely waterlogged, with hordes of mosquitoes and yellow fever. Both leaders were somewhat pleased by the deal.

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