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Louisiana is rich in original manuscript material from the 18th century, an inheritance from the colony’s early founding, strategic location, and economic and military activity. New Orleans’s French Superior Council (1714-1769) and Spanish Judicial Records (1769-1803)—which have been in the care of the Louisiana State Museum since its founding in 1906—are the crowning jewel of this written patrimony.
The French Superior Council and Spanish Judicial records have long been essential to the study of American colonial history for the quantity, quality, depth, and diversity of the documentation they contain. They have provided generations of historians, students, sociologists and genealogists with a rich source of data on New Orleans’s earliest days, the Louisiana territory, the slave trade, and Native American relations, the Atlantic World, and Canada and the Caribbean, among other topics.