Louisiana (New France)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
Louisiana sold in 1803 by Napoléon to USA, which was a portion of the historical extent of French Louisiana
Louisiana sold in 1803 by Napoléon to USA, which was a portion of the historical extent of French Louisiana

Louisiana (French language: La Louisiane) was the name of an administrative district of New France in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was essentially the area of North America under French colonial control that lay within the basin of the Mississippi River within the present-day United States. Named by explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1682 in honour of King Louis XIV, it grew to encompass an expansive area of lands along both sides of the Mississippi between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains, including the Ohio Country and the Illinois Country. The present-day U.S. state of Louisiana is named for the historical region, occupying a small portion of the original region at the mouth of Mississippi River.


Starting in the late 17th century, the area became the site of an extensive trading network among the American Indians of the region through forts along the river valleys as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. The French lost control of the region following the French and Indian War, otherwise known as the Seven Years' War, in 1763, with the portion east of the Mississippi ceded to Britain and the portion west of the Mississippi ceded to Spain. Under Spanish control, the economic activity in the Mississippi basin shifted southward away from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, leading the growth of importance of the city of New Orleans near the mouth of the river.

After 1763, the British continued to prohibit white settlement in the region west of the Appalachians. This policy that led to widespead discontentment among British colonialists and helped lay the groundwork for the American Revolution. The eastern portion became part of the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolutionary War. Under U.S. control, the eastern portion was largely divided into the Northwest Territory and the Southwest Territory.

In 1801 under Napoleon Bonaparte, France briefly regained control of the portion west of the Mississippi from Spain in the Treaty of San Ildefonso. The United States acquired the western portion in 1803 in the Louisiana Purchase. This newly-acquired area was initially designated the District of Louisiana. After the admission of the state of Louisiana to the Union, most of the area became organized as the Missouri Territory.

Notable figures in the history of Louisiana

See also

Personal tools
In other languages