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Just for Kids: History
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A HISTORY OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA

Native American
Do you know who the first inhabitants of Louisiana were?
They weren't the French, Spanish, English, or American.

They were the Native Americans!
The earliest known tribes in what is now our state
date back to about 3,000 years ago.
That was even before the Roman Empire developed!

There were over 20 tribes of Indians located in Louisiana.

 

French Flag
The first European explorers to our state were Spanish,
but since they didn't find any gold or silver they lost interest and left.

The French were the first ones to try to settle the rugged lands of Louisiana.

French explorer La Salle came down the Mississippi from Canada in 1682
 and named the new territory he found Louisiana in honor of France's King Louis XIV.

 
 

Spanish Flag
This new territory changed hands in 1762
because France lost the French and Indian War.

The treaty of Fontainebleau gave Spain control of Louisiana.
Nobody told the French Settlers living there until 1764!

The Spanish didn't have control for very long.
In 1800 another treaty gave control of Louisiana back to France.

 
 

Louisiana Purchase Drawing
As confusing as this all was to the people living in Louisiana, it didn't end there.

In 1803, with the U.S. only 27 years old,
U.S. President Thomas Jefferson
felt it was in his new country's best interest
to gain control of New Orleans
because of its port.

President Jefferson sent diplomats to France
to ask Napoleon if he would sell the city.

Napoleon decided to sell the entire
Louisiana territory for just $15 million.

The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled
the size of the United States!

Thirteen of our present states came from this territory.

In just 41 years the people living in the Louisiana territory
 belonged to three different countries!

 
 

State of Louisiana Flag
After the Louisiana territory split into smaller pieces,
what we now know as Louisiana
officially became a state in 1812.

It was the 18th state admitted into the Union.

 

French Quarter Architecture
The cultural diversity found in our state is a result of its unique history.

Our French heritage is evident in the dialect spoken by many Louisiana natives,
our parish system (all other states have counties),
and our system of law (we have Napoleonic code law system
while other states have common law).

If you take a stroll in New Orleans' French Quarter,
you'll see some beautiful examples of Spanish architecture!


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Louisiana.gov