Treaty of Aranjuez (1801)

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Treaty of Aranjuez (1801)
Treaty between Spain and France.
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord.PNG
Talleyrand; a versatile and subtle diplomatist, the Treaty was one part of a complex series of interlocking agreements
ContextConfirmation of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso; Spain agrees to transfer Louisiana-New Spain to France for territories in Italy.
Signed21 March 1801 (1801-03-21)
Location Aranjuez

The Treaty of Aranjuez (1801) was agreed on 21 March 1801 by France and Spain. It confirmed the terms of the secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso dated 1 October 1800, in which Spain agreed to exchange its North American colony of Louisiana-New Spain for territories in Tuscany.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands and a peninsula bordering Morocco in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with British dependency Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Third Treaty of San Ildefonso treaty between France and Spain involving the colonial territory of Louisiana

The Third Treaty of San Ildefonso was a secret agreement signed on 1 October 1800 between the Spanish Empire and the First French Republic by which Spain agreed in principle to exchange their North American colony of Louisiana for territories in Tuscany. The terms were later confirmed by the March 1801 Treaty of Aranjuez.

Louisiana (New Spain) administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain

Louisiana was the name of an administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1763 to 1801 that consisted of territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans. Spain acquired the territory from France, which had named it La Louisiane in honor of King Louis XIV in 1682. It is sometimes known as Spanish Louisiana. The district was retroceded to France, under the terms of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800) and the Treaty of Aranjuez (1801). In 1802, King Charles IV of Spain published a royal bill on 14 October, effecting the transfer and outlining the conditions.



Italy 1796 (simplified); note Duchies of Parma (top left, orange) and Tuscany. Italy 1796 AD.png
Italy 1796 (simplified); note Duchies of Parma (top left, orange) and Tuscany.

Spain's alliance with France and the 1798-1802 Anglo-Spanish War resulted in a British naval blockade that severely impacted their economy. This was highly dependent on trade with its South American colonies, particularly the import of silver from Mexico. [1]

Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808) 1796–1808 war, part of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

The Anglo-Spanish War was a conflict fought between 1796 and 1802, and again from 1804 to 1808, as part of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The war ended when an alliance was signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain, which was now under French invasion.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Louisiana formed the North-Eastern border of Spain's immense Empire in the Americas, which it had acquired relatively recently in the 1763 Treaty of Paris. [lower-alpha 1] Possession led to constant battles over illegal American activity in the Mississippi Basin, which was both costly and risked conflict with the US, whose merchant ships Spain relied on to evade the British blockade. [2]

Treaty of Paris (1763) 1763 treaty that ended the Seven Years War

The Treaty of Paris, also known as the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763 by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement, after Great Britain's victory over France and Spain during the Seven Years' War.

After the November 1799 Coup of 18 Brumaire, the new government of First Consul Napoleon and his deputy Talleyrand made colonial expansion a key policy. Part of this involved the creation of a new French Empire in North America, with Louisiana as its hub. [3]

Coup of 18 Brumaire coup that brought Napoleon to power

The Coup of 18 Brumaire brought General Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul of France and in the view of most historians ended the French Revolution. This bloodless coup d'état overthrew the Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.

Napoleon 18th/19th-century French monarch, military and political leader

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord French diplomat

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, 1st Prince of Benevento, then 1st Prince of Talleyrand, was a laicized French bishop, politician, and diplomat. After theology studies, he became in 1780 Agent-General of the Clergy and represented the Catholic Church to the French Crown. He worked at the highest levels of successive French governments, most commonly as foreign minister or in some other diplomatic capacity. His career spanned the regimes of Louis XVI, the years of the French Revolution, Napoleon, Louis XVIII, and Louis-Philippe. Those he served often distrusted Talleyrand but, like Napoleon, found him extremely useful. The name "Talleyrand" has become a byword for crafty, cynical diplomacy.

This combination of French ambition and Spanish weakness made an exchange attractive to both, preliminary terms being agreed in the secret October 1800 Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. In return for Louisiana, Charles IV's son-in-law Louis, Infanta Duke of Parma would be compensated for France's annexation of his inheritance, the Duchy of Parma. [4] Details were vague, Clause II stating 'it may consist of Tuscany...or the three Roman legations or of any other continental provinces of Italy which form a rounded state;' Spain would hand over Louisiana once this was confirmed.

Charles IV of Spain King of Spain

Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788, until his abdication on 19 March 1808.

Louis I of Etruria King of Etruria

Louis I was the first of the two kings of Etruria. Louis was the son of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, and Maria Amalia of Austria. He was born in 1773, when his great-grandfather, King Louis XV of France, was still alive.

Duchy of Parma former Italian state (1545–1802; 1814–1859)

The Duchy of Parma was created in 1545 from that part of the Duchy of Milan south of the Po River, which was conquered by the Papal States in 1512. These territories, centered on the city of Parma, were given as a fief for Pope Paul III's illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese.


The Presidi (top) and the Principality of Piombino (below) in orange. Toscana y Presidios.png
The Presidi (top) and the Principality of Piombino (below) in orange.

In February 1801, France and Austria agreed the Treaty of Lunéville, which included a provision awarding the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to France. The incumbent, Ferdinand III, was awarded the German territories of Archbishopric of Salzburg and Berchtesgaden in compensation.

Treaty of Lunéville

The Treaty of Lunéville was signed in the Treaty House of Lunéville on 9 February 1801. The signatory parties were the French Republic and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The latter was negotiating both on his own behalf as ruler of the hereditary domains of the Habsburg Monarchy and on behalf of other rulers who controlled territories in the Holy Roman Empire. The signatories were Joseph Bonaparte and Count Ludwig von Cobenzl, the Austrian foreign minister.

Grand Duchy of Tuscany former Italian state (1599–1831; 1803–1859)

The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence. Tuscany was nominally a state of the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797.

Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany Grand Duke of Tuscany

Ferdinand III was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1790 to 1801 and, after a period of disenfranchisement, again from 1814 to 1824. He was also the Prince-elector and Grand Duke of Salzburg (1803–1805) and Grand Duke of Würzburg (1805–1814).

Charles IV of Spain and his wife Maria Luisa persuaded her brother Ferdinand of Parma to cede the Duchy of Parma to France. [lower-alpha 2] In return, the Treaty of Aranjuez made his son Louis King of the new Kingdom of Etruria, while Ferdinand was allowed to keep Parma until his death in October 1802. [5]

Etruria was composed of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany plus the Principality of Piombino although Talleyrand was distributing lands he did not yet control. In the Treaty of Florence of 28 March 1801, the Kingdom of Naples ceded Piombino and the State of the Presidi in southern Tuscany to France. The Presidi included Porto Longone on Elba which France retained, with the remainder then exchanged with Louis of Etruria for Piombino. [lower-alpha 3]

The transfer of Louisiana to France was officially confirmed in October 1802 when Charles IV announced it in a Royal Proclamation. [6]


This elaborate shuffling of Italian territories ultimately led nowhere; Etruria was dissolved and incorporated into France in 1807, while much of pre-Napoleonic Italy was restored by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, including the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Parma. [lower-alpha 4]

Ferdinand of Tuscany; evicted by the Treaty in 1801, but regained his Duchy in 1814. Joseph Dorffmeister 002.jpg
Ferdinand of Tuscany; evicted by the Treaty in 1801, but regained his Duchy in 1814.
Louis I of Etruria; short-lived King (died 1803) of a short-lived Kingdom (dissolved 1807). Luis de Etruria.jpg
Louis I of Etruria; short-lived King (died 1803) of a short-lived Kingdom (dissolved 1807).

Negotiations between France and Britain to end the War of the Second Coalition began in late 1801, resulting in the March 1802 Treaty of Amiens which brought temporary peace to Europe. In December 1801, a French army landed on Haiti, formerly the French colony of Saint-Domingue which had become independent after a slave rebellion in 1791; its recapture was the first step in creating France's new North American Empire. [lower-alpha 5]

Between 1798-1800, the US and France fought an undeclared war at sea known as the Quasi-War, which was ended by the September 1800 Convention of 1800 or Treaty of Mortefontaine. French ambitions in North America concerned the US; with Britain to the north in Canada, they much preferred a weak Spain to an aggressive and powerful France on their southern border. [7]

They were also aware France had conducted military surveys of Louisiana, including the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, to determine how best to defend it against US expansion if they regained control. [8] French ambitions seemed clear and the presence of over 30,000 veteran troops in Saint-Domingue meant they could enforce that policy. [lower-alpha 6] The US Ambassador to Spain, Charles Pinckney, was instructed to acquire Louisiana and the Floridas from the Spanish if possible but they denied any such deal had been agreed. It was not until February 1802 the Americans finally obtained details of the Treaty of Aranjuez from Rufus King, their envoy in London. [9]

However, by October 1802, it was clear the Saint-Domingue or Haiti expedition had been a catastrophic failure, with Napoleon's brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc dying from yellow fever along with many of his troops. [lower-alpha 7] . Without Haiti, Louisiana was irrelevant and with France and Britain on the verge of hostilities, Napoleon needed the money. Despite previous undertakings not to do so, France sold Louisiana to the US for $15 million in April 1803, just before war with Britain began again in May 1803.


  1. Their ally France ceded it as compensation for Spanish concessions to Britain elsewhere.
  2. Sic; the Bourbon and Hapsburg aristocracy tended to re-use the same names, 'Ferdinand' and 'Maria Luisa' being particularly popular.
  3. At the time, Elba was occupied by the British.
  4. Although it was not until 1847 that the Bourbon Dukes of Parma regained their lands.
  5. The French action had the tacit support of many Americans, who feared the example set by Haiti to their own slaves.
  6. For comparison, in 1802 the US had no standing army, while the Navy consisted of 5,400 sailors and marines.
  7. An estimated 15,000 - 22,000 out of 30,000, many of them experienced and elite veteran soldiers.

Related Research Articles

Louisiana Purchase Acquisition by the United States of America of Frances claim to the territory of Louisiana

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory of New France by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs ($11,250,000) and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs ($3,750,000) for a total of sixty-eight million francs. The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River ; and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were African slaves.

Tuscany is named after its pre-Roman inhabitants, the Etruscans. It was ruled by Rome for many centuries. In the Middle Ages, it saw many invasions, but in the Renaissance period it helped lead Europe back to civilization. Later, it settled down as a grand duchy. It was conquered by Napoleonic France in the late 18th century and became part of the Italian Republic in the 19th century.

War of the Second Coalition attempt to contain or eliminate Revolutionary France

The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary France by the European monarchies, led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and including the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and Sweden. Their goal was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. They failed to overthrow the revolutionary regime and French territorial gains since 1793 were confirmed. In the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801, France held all of its previous gains and obtained new lands in Tuscany, Italy, while Austria was granted Venetia and the Dalmatian coast. Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing an interval of peace in Europe that lasted for 14 months. By May 1803 Britain and France were again at war and in 1805 Britain assembled the Third Coalition to resume the war against France.

Convention of 1800

The Convention of 1800 or the Treaty of Mortefontaine between the United States of America and France ended the 1798–1800 Quasi-War, an undeclared naval war waged primarily in the Caribbean, and terminated the 1778 Treaty of Alliance.

Kingdom of Etruria state

The Kingdom of Etruria was a kingdom between 1801 and 1807 which made up a large part of modern Tuscany. It took its name from Etruria, the old Roman name for the land of the Etruscans.

Charles II, Duke of Parma King of Etruria

Charles Louis was King of Etruria, Duke of Lucca, and Duke of Parma.

Ferdinand, Duke of Parma Duke of Parma

Ferdinand was the Duke of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla from his father's death on 18 July 1765 until he ceded the duchy to France by the Treaty of Aranjuez on 20 March 1801. He was a member of the Spanish House of Bourbon.

Maria Luisa, Duchess of Lucca Spanish noblewoman

Maria Luisa of Spain was a Spanish infanta, daughter of King Charles IV and his wife, Maria Luisa of Parma. In 1795, she married her first cousin Louis, Hereditary Prince of Parma. She spent the first years of her married life at the Spanish court where their first child, Charles, was born.

State of the <i>Presidi</i> former state on the Apennine Peninsula

The State of the Presidi was a small state in Italy between 1557 and 1801. It consisted of five towns on the Tuscan coast—Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano on the promontory of Monte Argentario, as well as Orbetello, Talamone and Ansedonia—and their hinterland, along with the islet of Giannutri and the fortress of Porto Longone on the island of Elba. Always a separate entity attached to the Kingdom of Naples, the Presidi went through three distinct historical periods. They were, from 1557 to 1707, a possession of the Crown of Spain administered by the Spanish Habsburg viceroy of Naples; from 1708 to 1733, a possession of the Austrian Habsburgs administered by their viceroy in Naples; and from 1733 to 1801, a dependency of the Spanish Bourbon kings of Naples. By the Treaty of Florence of 28 March 1801, the king of Naples ceded the Presidi to the French Republic, which then ceded them to the new Kingdom of Etruria. After the downfall of France in 1814 and the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the territories were granted to the restored Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

The Treaty of Florence, which followed the Armistice of Foligno, brought to an end the war between the French Republic and the Kingdom of Naples, one of the Wars of the French Revolution. Forced by the French military presence, Naples ceded some territories in the Tyrrhenian sea and accepted French garrisons to their ports on the Adriatic sea. All Neapolitan harbours were closed to British and Ottoman vessels.

Principality of Piombino

The Lordship of Piombino, and after 1594 the Principality of Piombino, was a small state on the Italian peninsula centred on the city of Piombino and including part of the island of Elba. It existed from 1399 to 1805, when it was merged into the Principality of Lucca and Piombino. In 1815 it was absorbed into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Luisa of Naples and Sicily Princess of Naples and Sicily

Luisa of Naples and Sicily, was a Neapolitan and Sicilian princess and the wife of the third Habsburg Grand Duke of Tuscany.

House of Bourbon-Parma dynasty

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Principality of Lucca and Piombino former Principality

The Principality of Lucca and Piombino was created in July 1805 by Napoleon I for his beloved sister Elisa Bonaparte. It was a State located on the central Italian Peninsula, reporting to the needs of Napoleonic France.


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  3. Kemp, Roger (ed) (2010). Documents of American Democracy. McFarland & Co. pp. 160–161. ISBN   0786442107.
  4. Tarver, Micheal Hn (Author, Editor), Slape, Emily (Author, Editor) (2016). The Spanish Empire; An Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 53. ISBN   161069421X.
  5. Berte-Langereau, Jack (1955). "L'Espagne et le royaume d'Etrurie". Hispania. 15 (60): 353-460 passim.
  6. Real cédula expedida en Barcelona, a 15 de octubre de 1802, para que se entregue a la Francia la colonia y provincia de la Luisiana. Coleccion histórica completa de los tratdos, convenciones, capitulaciones, armistricios, y otros actos diplomáticos de todos los estados: de la America Latina comprendidos entre el golfo de Méjico y el cabo de Hornos, desde el año de 1493 hasta nuestros dias, Volume 4 (in Spanish). Paris. 1862. pp. 326–328.
  7. Kemp, Roger (ed) (2010). Documents of American Democracy. McFarland & Co. p. 160. ISBN   0786442107.
  8. Smith, James Morton (1956). Freedom's Fetters: Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties (1966 ed.). Cornell University Press. p. 168. ISBN   0801490332.
  9. King, Rufus. "Madison Papers; To James Madison from Rufus King, 29 March 1801". Founders Archives. Original source: The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, vol. 1, 4 March–31 July 1801. Retrieved 2 July 2018.