Charles Aubry was the last French governor of Louisiana before it reverted to Spanish control. Although Aubry was only officially governor between 1765 and 1766, he unofficially oversaw the colony for much longer because the Spanish crown had difficult establishing control until the arrival of Alejandro O’Reilly in August 17, 1769. In the interim, Aubry investigated the Insurrection of 1768, during which French colonists rebelled against Spanish rule, and attempted to maintain order in the colony. During his term, Aubry directed the settlement of the first large group of Acadian immigrants in 1765.
The dates and circumstances of Charles Philippe Aubry’s birth are lost and little is known about his early life. In 1742, he was a second lieutenant in the French military; he served in that capacity during the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). He was then commissioned captain of the colonial troops and assigned to Louisiana in 1750. During the Seven Years’ War, he commanded troops in skirmishes with the English around Fort Duquesne until he was captured by the British and taken to New York in 1759. Released in 1760, Aubry returned to France and received the Cross of St. Louis for his meritorious conduct in colonial service.
Placed in command of Louisiana--then just a small military post--in 1763, Aubry became acting governor when Jean Jacques Blaise d’Abbadie died in 1765. He also prepared to transfer Louisiana to Spanish representative Antonio de Ulloa in 1766. Ulloa sent his orders through Aubry until French colonists, rebelling against Spanish rule, forced Ulloa to flee during Insurrection of 1768. When Alejandro O'Reilly arrived the following year, Aubry helped him restore order and provided information about the leaders of the rebellion. As a result, most New Orleanians of the period did not remember him fondly. Aubry died February 17, 1770 in the wreck of the Pére de Famille near Bordeaux, France while attempting to return home.
Sources: David Ker Texa-da, Alejandro O'Reilly and the New Orleans Rebels (1970); Marc de Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières Années de la Louisiane française (1904); James E. Winston, "The Cause and Results of the Revolution of 1768 in Louisia-na," Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XV (1932); Gustave Devron, ed., "Deux Lettres du Capitaine Aubry," Comptes-Rendus de l'Athénée Louisianais, 7th series (January, 1900); Gustave Devron, ed., "M. Aubry, Dernier Gouverneur Français en Louisiane," Comptes-Rendus de l'Athénée Louisianais, 6th ser. (July, 1897).
Adapted from Carl A. Brasseaux’s entry for the Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, a publication of the Louisiana Historical Association in cooperation with the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. http://www.lahistory.org
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"Charles Philippe Aubry." In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published October 29, 2014. http://www.knowla.org/entry/912/.
"Charles Philippe Aubry." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 29 Oct 2014. Web. 17 Jan. 2017.
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Cowan, Walter Grieves and Jack McGuire. Louisiana Governors: Rulers, Rascals, and Reformers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008.