The Canary Islanders migrated into Louisiana between 1778 and 1783. They also spread into neighboring regions. They were called "islenos"  and  were members of white race.   Many families then moved into the eastern Texas area and then into state of Bexar as 'Anglo" pressure continued to press westward.

The Canary Islands are a collection of 7 islands about 100 miles west of the coast of Morocco.  Spaniards conquered the area and migrated to the island in the 15th and 16th century.  By the 18th century, the islands were controlled by nobles.  The main product of the  slands was the production of orchil, a lichen that produces a violet dye.  When the orchil crop was low, which happened periodically, the workers practically starved to death and didn't receive much help from the nobles. 
 After a failed revolt in 1762, a group of 300 from the island of Gomera migrated to Louisiana. [German Hernandez Rodriquez, "La aportacion de la isla de la Gomera al poblamiento de la Luisiana, 1777-1778," IV Coloquio de historia canario-americana (1980) (2 vols.; Salamanca, 1982), II, p. 227-245] Canary Islands, 1758

     Since the late 1600s, Spain had encouraged the Canary Islanders to move to the Caribbean colonies.  After Spain acquired Louisiana in 1762, it recognized the need to populate the territory.  When the Revolutionary War brought the English in conflict with the American colonies, Spain recognized the danger from possible English hostilities in Louisiana.  On August 15, 1777, Spain ordered  a second battalion be formed in Louisiana.  It looked to the Canary Islands for 700 recruits.  It tried to get married recruits so that they could not only defend the area, but also populate it.  [Din, p. 15]
     The recruits were required to be from 17 to 36 years old, healthy, without vices, and at least 5' 1/2" tall.  Butchers, gypsies, mulattoes, and executioners were not permited to sign up.  Though it wasn't in a written agreement, they understand that they were going to stay in Louisiana permanently.  The recruits were to receive 45 reales upon signing up and 45 more upon arrival in New Orleans.  They also got 1/2 peso a day while waiting to leave.  People were also paid for finding these recruits; in fact, they were paid according to the height of the recruits.  The payment was: 15 reales if at least 5' 1/2", 30 reales if at least 5' 2", and 45 reales if at least 5' 3". [Din, p. 16]
     Five of the island sent recruits to Louisiana: Tenerife (about 45%), Gran Canaria (almost 40%), Gomera, La Palma, and Lanzarote. The 700 recruits brought their families, bringing the total number of immigrants to 2,373

Vessels carrying "islenos" to Louisiana:

SS Sacremento
San Ignacio de Loyola                        
La Victoria
San Juan Nepomuceno

Other ships included: 

Anidot.gif (1014 bytes)  La Santa Faz
Anidot.gif (1014 bytes)  El Sagrada Corazon de Jeses
Anidot.gif (1014 bytes)  Fragata Llamada Margarita
Anidot.gif (1014 bytes)  SS Trinidad

Settlement Foundations in Louisiana

1.San Bernardo de Galvez, located on shores of the Terre-Aux-Boeuf in St.Bernard Parish.

2. Galveztown, located on shores of Amite River near Manchac in Iberville Parish.

3. Valenzuela, located on shores of Chetimachas ( Bayou Lafourche ) in Assumption Parish.

4. Nueva Iberia, located on shores of Bayou Tache in Iberia Parish.

The Exploits of San Bernardo de Galvez


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