Natchitoches, Louisiana

By: Ross Phares

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

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Natchitoches, established as a trading post on the Red River by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis in the winter of 1713–14, became the westernmost French post in Louisiana. Its influence prevented further eastward expansion of the Spanish. There was much conflict over boundaries and Indian trade between Natchitoches and Los Adaes, a Spanish garrison fifteen miles to the west, but an extensive international trade, much of it contraband, was carried on; on the whole, the two nationalities were good neighbors. Natchitoches was the eastern outlet for raw products of early Texas and in turn a source of manufactured goods. A gateway to Texas for explorers and colonizers, the town figured in many diplomatic and military incidents: in 1719 the Natchitoches commandant drove the Spanish temporarily from Los Adaes; in 1731, with the help of the Spanish it fought for its existence against the Natchez Indians; as a frontier garrison it was a focal point in the formation of the Neutral Ground in 1806; and it was a rallying point and a base of supply for the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition of 1812. With the admission of Texas to the Union, Natchitoches ceased to be influential in Texas history.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1925). Gary B. Mills, The Forgotten People: Cane River's Creoles of Color (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977). Ross Phares, Cavalier in the Wilderness: The Story of the Explorer and Trader Louis Juchereau de St. Denis (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1952). Germaine Portre-Bobinski and Clara Mildred Smith, Natchitoches: The Up-to-Date Oldest Town in Louisiana (New Orleans: Dameron-Pierson Company, 1936).


  • Peoples
  • French

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas


  • Communities

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ross Phares, “Natchitoches, Louisiana,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 20, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995

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