Champ d'Asile

Although Champ d'Asile, a colony of Bonapartist refugees founded on the Trinity River in 1818, endured barely six months, its impact on the future of Texas was strong. The concern aroused among United States and Spanish diplomats over this intrusion into disputed territory caused two immediate results. United States pressure forced pirate Jean Laffite and his men, who had assisted the French colonists, to leave Galveston. And French presence at Champ d'Asile precipitated the Adams-OnĂ­s Treaty of 1819, which eliminated the Neutral Ground agreement and established the Sabine River as the Louisiana-Texas boundary and the border between the United States and New Spain. The body of thought, art, and literature evoked in Paris around Champ d'Asile also had important long-term effects on Texas. Bourbon Spain still ruled Mexico in 1818, and the Spanish army marched against the colony. In Restoration France, therefore, artists and the liberal press could represent the failure of Champ d'Asile as a Bourbon attack against the remains of France's imperial glory. A mythic Champ d'Asile stirred French attachment to Texas, intermittently rekindled by journalists, which two decades later resulted in France's becoming the first European power to recognize the Republic of Texas. Champ d'Asile, the Bonapartist refugees, and Laffite the pirate persist as themes in French literature.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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