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AUCTION 18

Texas, California, the Southwest U.S., Mexico & the Borderlands:
Interesting books, broadsides, maps & ephemera

Lot 71

Manuscript Plan of Los Adaes—Capital of Texas in 1729

71. [SPANISH TEXAS]. “Presidio de Nra. Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes en la frontera de los Thexas....” Manuscript plan of the presidio, drawn before 1726. [2] pp., ink on paper. 42 x 30 cm. Except for small splits at folds, very good. Professionally rendered drawing of the fort, including prominent features such as the chapel but lacking structures in the courtyard. With key on recto and contemporary remarks in ink on verso about the presidio.

     Established in 1721 to block French encroachment upon Spain's southwestern possessions, Los Adaes was in 1729 made the capital of Texas and was the farthest eastern point in Spanish Mexico. Because Los Adaes was so far removed from other Spanish settlements and sources of supply, the residents developed trade relations with the nearby French and the area's Native Americans out of necessity. Despite official grumblings about illicit trade, it was allowed to continue since there was no other way for the settlement to survive. After nearly fifty years of fairly peaceful and undisturbed existence, the place was ordered abandoned and the settlers forcibly removed in 1773 in a manner Herbert Eugene Bolton compared to the removal of the French Acadians. Many of them returned to the area, however, and founded the modern-day town of Nacogdoches, Texas. Los Adaes was unique in Texas history because it was the only outpost actually in modern-day Louisiana and the only one that developed any meaningful relationship with the French.

      This plan is a scale drawing of the presidio and was probably made shortly after the structure was built. In 1726, the garrison was reduced to sixty men; because of a reference here to 100 men in the garrison, the plan must predate that year. Although there were structures inside the walls, such as the Governor's house, this plan depicts only the fortifications themselves. An historically important depiction of a site now being actively excavated by the State of Louisiana. ($6,000-12,000)

Image (click to enlarge)

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