Personal Empires: Mapping, Local Networks, and the Control of Land in the Lower Mississippi Valley
Keywords:Cadastral Survey, Land Grant, Spanish West Florida, Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana and Florida territories sat at the intersection of empires in the late eighteenth century. Between 1750 and 1820 the area was controlled by the French and Spanish empires, the emerging United States of America, as well as the Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations. While political surveys produced images of the moving borders between sovereign powers, cadastral surveys show the constancy of local landowners. Landowners superseded national distinction and were a constant in an area in the midst of great change. As control of the region shifted, landowning families continued their way of life. The continued circulation of Spanish cadastral surveys after the transfer of the region to the United States of America shows how Spanish spatial representations of property ownership shaped the image of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
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