Between 1717 and 1731, the French Company of the Indies (Compagnie des Indes) held a virtual monopoly over Louisiana culture and trade. Among numerous controls, its administrators oversaw the slave trade, the immigration of free and indentured whites, negotiations with Native American peoples, and the purchase and exportation of Louisiana-grown tobacco. In Marc-Antoine Caillot and the Company of the Indies in Louisiana, Erin M. Greenwald situates the colony within a French Atlantic circuit stretching from Paris and the Brittany coast to Africa's Senegambian region to the West Indies to Louisiana and back. Focusing on the travels and travails of Marc-Antoine Caillot, a company clerk who set sail for Louisiana in 1729, Greenwald deftly examines the company's role as colonizer, developer, slaveholder, commercial entity, and deal maker.
As the company's focus shifted away from agriculture with the reversion of Louisiana to the French crown in 1731, so too did the lives of the individuals whose fortunes were bound up in the company's trade, colonization, and agricultural mission in the Americas. Greenwald’s microhistorical focus on Caillot provides an engaging narrative for readers interested in the culture and society of early Louisiana and its place in the larger French Atlantic world.
1. The Company in France
2. Approaching the Atlantic World
3. Tropical Baptisms
4. Stopping Over: Provisioning and Acculturation
5. Louisiana: A Company Colony
6. A Colony Fit Only for a King?
Epilogue: Embracing India
Erin M. Greenwald is curator and historian at the Historic New Orleans Collection and the editor of A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies.