Houston Archeological Society presents Gifts for the Indians: French and Spanish Trade Goods on the Texas Coast in the 1680s
Brad Jones, archeologist with the Texas Historical Commission’s Archeology Division, will present a program highlighting Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle’s 1684 expedition to establish a French settlement on the Mississippi River. The program will highlight the wreck of the LaBelle in Matagorda Bay in 1686, and excavations by the Texas Historical Commission to recover the ship in 1995.
Lasalle’s expedition unexpectedly resulted in one of the first prolonged engagements between Native American and European peoples in the Texas Gulf region. Among the many items brought by the French were tremendous amounts of European material goods meant as gifts for the Native American communities, nearly a million of which remained in the hold of La Belle when it wrecked in Matagorda Bay in 1686.
This presentation reviews La Belle’s excavated trade good assemblage and compares it with the archival records of trade goods provisioned to Spanish maritime expeditions to find La Salle and his colony.