22 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI when necessary. The colony received special supplementary appropriation for Parliament in 1776-1777 to underwrite such assistance. The Mississippi region received an influx of settlers from her sister colonies in North America during the Revolution. More settlers came from Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia than from any other colony,” as written by Kynerd. France allied with the Americans in the Revolution, and in July of 1779, Spain saw its chance. It formed an alliance with France (but not with the United States) and declared war on England. With its army and navy tied up with the war along the Atlantic, Britain was in no position to defend its territory in the gulf region, and Spain quickly reclaimed its old colony of West Florida. Spanish Governor Galvez struck quickly, and his Louisiana militia immediately took the British fort at Manchac near Baton Rouge. The English forces fell back and withdrew to Baton Rouge, but the Spanish army was far too big and powerful, and the British commander surrendered without resistance. The land that was to become south Mississippi thus came under Spanish rule on September 21, 1779, four years before the Treaty of Paris would mark the end of the American Revolution. When that war ended, under the terms of the series of treaties known as the Peace of Paris in 1783, Spain was granted East Florida as well. The American Revolution turned out very well for Spain. Spain wisely began a campaign to pacify the settlers living in the West Florida area. “In an effort to make living under Spanish rule more attractive,” Jack Holmes noted in “A Spanish Province 1779-1798” from A History of Mississippi Volume I, “Spain modified its traditional exclusivism regarding the economy, government, and religion.” Spain decided to allow settlers to practice their chosen religions, if only privately. Military duty was required, “but it was not onerous.” No tariffs on agricultural products were imposed, and settlers had an unrestricted market for their products downriver in New Orleans. The new Spanish colony operated under military rule until 1787 when Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, a native of Portugal who spoke fluent English, was appointed as governor. He arrived at Natchez in June 1789. According to Holmes, the new governor “generally exercised considerable restraint in his benevolent paternalism over the settlers.” Following the establishment of civil government, the Spaniards set about to secure their hold on the all-important Mississippi River through the establishment of several well- placed military forts. They established a post at Grand Gulf primarily for defense against possible Native American attacks. Farther up at the confluence of the Yazoo and the Mississippi (present day Vicksburg), they built Fort Nogales “to block the land expansion plans of the South Carolina Yazoo Company.” And “far to the north…on the Chickasaw Bluffs at the present-day site of Memphis was a fort (Barrancas) which held the key to the defense of lower Louisiana as well as Natchez.” Spain had captured the lower Mississippi as an indirect ally of the new United States, but they made it clear from the start that it was not a prize to be shared. The United States naturally wanted freer use of the Mississippi, but they did not challenge Spain’s claim. Spain lured many settlers into the Natchez district with the liberal granting of land patents, especially around Natchez. All that was required of settlers, either established ones or more recent arrivals, was a pledge to support to “Spanish dominion in the defense of their homes, and to reveal knowledge of any plots against the government.” The interior lands to the east were open but were not the first choice of settlers. Upriver north of Walnut Hills (Vicksburg), the emphasis was not in colonization but rather in building military forts to secure Spanish control of the river. The coast was left to carry on undisturbed by the Spanish bureaucrats, pretty much as if the French had never left. And, of course, the lands north of 32 degrees 28 minutes (present-day north Mississippi), Native American lands under the Royal Proclamation of 1763, were left in control of the Native Americans and, aside from occasional trading posts, saw no European settlement. The combination of light government regulation, military protection, and free access to river trade and the growing seaport at New Orleans resulted in a rapid growth of settlement around Natchez. Holmes stated that “the 1784 census of the Natchez District indicated there were 1,619 people, including 498 black slaves. The 1792 census… showed the rapid influx of settlers; the population was then 4,346. By the end of the Spanish dominion, the population included 4,500 whites and 2,400 Negroes.” Apparently, the Spanish policy of offering additional land grants to those settlers who brought their slaves with them to Mississippi had the effect of encouraging the growth of slavery, and was to expand greatly after Eli Whitney’s cotton gin went on the market in 1794. The years of Spanish domination, 1779 to 1795, had little consequence for the coast and the interior regions, but it was an age of prosperity and growth along the Mississippi River all the way to Vicksburg. It saw the beginning of a cotton economy that would soon flourish. “The most important crop of Natchez at the close of the Spanish period (cotton) Spain lured many settlers into the Natchez district with the liberal granting of land patents, especially around Natchez.