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Temperance in Colonial Arkansas

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Capt. Alexander de Clouet, Commandant of Arkansas Post, courtesy of the University of Southwestern Louisiana

In 1768 the Spanish governor in New Orleans ordered Captain Alexandre de Clouet, the commandant of Arkansas Post, to lecture the native Quapaw Indians on ill effects of drink. The only colonial settlement in Arkansas, the Post was established in 1686 by France, which transferred it to Spain in 1766.

The French had readily traded liquor for Quapaw grain, but the Spanish believed alcohol damaged relations with the tribe. The Quapaw initially denounced the Spanish policy of prohibition, which was enforced irregularly. Eventually, growing violence and disorder within the Quapaw villages prodded influential chiefs to demand that the Spanish halt the influx of demon rum.

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"Quapaws selling Bear meat at Chickasaw Bluffs in 1820" by Fleury Generelly, courtesy of Tulane University Special Collections. Note that two of the Quapaw are imbibing some of the proceeds of their sale.

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