Place:Galveztown, Ascension, Louisiana, United States


Alt namesGalvestown
Villa de Gálvez
Galvez Town
TypeInhabited place
Coordinates30.3428874°N 90.8876665°W
Located inAscension, Louisiana, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Template:Wp-Galvez, Louisiana

Galveztown or Villa de Gálvez

In 1778, British refugees and American Loyalists fled the American settlement of Canewood and settled in Spanish territory with the permission of Count Bernardo de Gálvez, the Spanish Governor of Louisiana and viceroy of New Spain (Mexico). In honor of the Spanish Governor, the refugees named their settlement "Galveztown".

Galvez sent immigrants from the Canary Islands, known as Isleños, to Galveztown in 1779, hoping to establish a military stronghold against the British in West Florida, who controlled nearby Baton Rouge at the time. The Spanish plans were for the town to be built in traditional Spanish villa layout including a military fort, although evidence of the town's eventual layout, including the fort, is limited.

From the start, diseases such as smallpox and scabies spread in the area. Floods, hurricanes, and droughts destroyed crops year after year. Due to the somewhat remote location from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, supplies were expensive to ship in. By the end of 1779, Galveztown lost much of its importance as a military post after the British lost Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola to the Spanish; the town began to decline as disease, natural disaster, and sparcity of supplies took their toll.

In 1785, the population was down to 242. By 1804, only 28 families and less than 25 slaves remained. The survivors of Galveztown eventually settled in Baton Rouge, in what is now known as the Spanishtown neighborhood. Although the Spanish fort, streets, and homes remained as ruins for well over a century, no efforts were made to preserve the site, and today only a state marker honoring the Canary Islander immigrants remains to mark the spot.

From 2008 thru 2010, preliminary archaeological work was undertaken on the site of Galveztown. In the summer of 2011, a field school offered by LSU was conducted.

See also: Robb Mann, Plazas and Power: Canary Islanders at Galveztown, an Eighteenth-Century Spanish Colonial Outpost in Louisiana.

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