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De Mézières writing Smack about Natchitoches after Taovaya

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Signature of Athanase de Mezieres
This signature is by Athanase De Mézières, who signed a letter, dated February 12, 1772, briefly describing his expedition to the northern parts of toda

Athanase De Mézières, a Frenchman, served as the Lieutenant Governor of Natchitoches and French trader-ambassador in the service of Spain after Spain took over the Louisiana Territory after 1763.

In 1772, De Mézières traveled to Taovaya, the villages at the Red River in today's Jefferson County, Oklahoma and Montague County, Texas to forge friendship with them. Twenty years prior, the Spanish were defeated at this village by the native people, which halted Spanish colonialism into the Red River. After his return from his mission, Athanase De Mézières composed a letter.

I have not translated the whole letter, but it's a loathsome tribute to Natchitoches. De Mézières mentions that he liked the "barbarian people" of Taovaya better than the residents of Natchitoches, whom he described as insubordinate and intolerant of authority.

You can read the letter in its full, 18th century Spanish, at Tulane University's digital library:

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