Did You Know?

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By Raymond Powell

Many of us local history buffs have had questions about the strip of land east of the Sabine River to the Gulf of Mexico known as the Neutral Strip or Ground or Territory but most famously known as “No Man’s Land”. Just how did this area become disputed land and how it was finally settled? After a great deal of research the following should settle the questions.

Back in 1740 Spain and France were in dispute concerning their exact boundaries. The French moved their Natchitoches post from the east side of Red River to the west side. The Red River was still flowing through Natchitoches at that time and has since changed course to the east. That remnant is now known as Cane River. The Spanish Governor of Texas was reprimanded for this move. It was determined that Arroyo Hondo (small creek west of Natchitoches near present day Rob Pine was the boundary). In 1864 the point became moot when France ceded the Louisiana Colony to Spain.

Soon the Louisiana Territory was transferred back to France. President Jefferson wanted to purchase land at the mouth of the Mississippi to ensure American access to the Gulf of Mexico. He found out that Napoleon was willing to sell all of the La. Territory to help finance the war in Europe! France sold this huge area to the U.S. on Oct. 30, 1803 for $15 million and it doubled the size of the U.S.


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