Jay-Gardoqui Negotiations

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JAY-GARDOQUI NEGOTIATIONS. John Jay's negotiations with Don Diego de Gardoqui of Spain began in New York City on 20 July 1785 in an effort to solve problems regarding the southwest boundary between the new nation and Spanish America, and American rights to navigate the Mississippi River to New Orleans. In 1779, Jay had gone to Spain to seek its endorsement of the war against England. Spain rejected Jay's appeal, but agreed to secret loans to help Americans purchase armaments. After the peace treaty ending the Revolutionary War was signed in 1785, Spain rejected America's right to navigate the Mississippi between Natchez and New Orleans.

One year after the Jay-Gardoqui negotiations began, Spain granted American commercial privileges for Spain's European ports, but still refused American rights on the Mississippi River to New Orleans. In August 1786, the Continental Congress voted seven to five for Spain's proposal, but lacked the necessary nine votes for ratification. In 1788, Spain granted Americans the right to navigate to New Orleans, provided they paid 15 percent duties to Madrid. The issue of Mississippi trade restrictions was finally resolved through the Pinckney Treaty of 1795.


Bemis, Samuel Flagg. Pinckney's Treaty: America's Advantage from Europe's Distress, 1783–1800. Rev. ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1962.

Weeks, William Earl. Building the Continental Empire: American Expansion from the Revolution to the Civil War. Chicago: Dee, 1997.

Whitaker, Arthur Preston. The Spanish-American Frontier, 1783–1795: The Westward Movement and the Spanish Retreat in the Mississippi Valley. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927.

Lester H.Brune

See alsoPinckney's Treaty .