Half of Minnesota passes to Spain when France gives up her trade west of the Mississippi. The exchange happens not because of activity in the Americas but as the result of a war in far away Europe.
No Spanish representatives are known to have visited the area after this trade and the Dakota and Ojibwe know nothing of it. Spain will return the land to France in 1800.*
Allow me to amplify this story? Louis XV had just lost the French and Indian War to Britain. This meant that Canada was claimed by England. Simultaneously, France was losing the Seven Years War on the Continent. He contacted his cousin, King Charles III of Spain, and secretly ceded his rights to all New France west of the Mississippi to Spain.
These facts are plain, Lord, but why would France yield such a massive stake in lucrative North America stretching from Louisiana through Minnesota? Was it pure politics and resentment of Britain? Was it born of familial ties between these men, or the bonds of the Catholic faith? It did bring an absence of war, but is absence of war the same as peace?
Lord, I don’t know how this transaction affected our state in this era. Help me see. It seems that Spain ruled with such a light touch that most Minnesotans were not aware of the change. Will You forgive any bondage or bitter roots created in this specific geographical territory because of the judgments held by Britain, France or Spain, Dakota or Ojibwe?
Whether these men were kind-hearted or connivers, that is Your judgment, but I acknowledge that we are no different today. We use or perhaps misuse whatever measure of authority or influence at our disposal when we feel our claims are threatened. We, like these two cousins, may secretively craft plans to block the advances of the opposing team to “keep it in the family.”
Will You teach us Your humility in our diplomacy? When we lose in life, may it not be doubled by the vow, “I will lose to anybody else, but not them.” Christ have mercy on us. May we become the generation that is content to be the humble, temporary tenants of Your land!
*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm . The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!