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History of Louisiana

The State of Louisiana, situated in the southern region of the United States of America, has an extraordinary multilingual and multicultural heritage. French/French Canadian and African American/Franco African are the two major groups of ancestry in the state’s population. Prior to the arrival of the European explorers in the 17th century, Louisiana was inhabited by Native Americans. The major tribes that nestled in the area included the Acolapissa, the Atakapa, the Houma, the Chitimacha, the Tunica, the Koroa, and the Tangipahoa. The Caddo nation and the Natchitoches confederacy occupied the Central and northwest Louisiana.

The region was named after France’s King Louis XIV by the French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1682. Fort Maurepas, founded in 1699 by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, was the first permanent settlement in the State. The French colony of Louisiana comprised of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. New Orleans was made the seat of the civilian and military authority in 1722. France and Spain would trade control of the colonial empire of the region until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1720s, German immigrants settled in the German Coast, along the Mississippi River and most of the land to the east of the River was lost to the kingdom of Great Britain in the French and Indian War. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 finally made the rest of Louisiana a colony of Spain after the Seven Years’ War. Louisiana was later acquired from Spain in 1800 by Napoleon Bonaparte of France in the Treaty of San Ildefonso.

In 1803, the entire 828,000 square miles (2,145,000 sq. km.) of Louisiana Territory was sold to the United States Government, represented by Meriwether Lewis, for just 60 million Francs. The transfer ceremony was organized on November 29, 1803 in New Orleans. The Louisiana Territory almost doubled the size of the United States overnight, without the loss of a single American life. It is this Louisiana Purchase which actually paved the way for the ultimate expansion of the US across the continent to the Pacific, and its consequent rise to the status of the world power.

 
 
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