• About this Collection -- Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase

    The Louisiana Purchase is a landmark event in American history, one that had a lasting impact not only on the size of the United States, but also on its economic, cultural, and political makeup. Before President Thomas Jefferson's administration purchased the territory in 1803, parts or all of the territory had been under the control of various Native American nations. From the 16th century ...

  • Louisiana as a French Colony -- Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase

    Difficult Early Years of the Colony From its inception Louisiana faced an inauspicious existence. Its fate was bound to the French economy during the last years of the reign of Louis XIV. Already a vast empire, the French government and its highly centralized bureaucracy disfavored policies that would have nurtured the economic independence of its colonies. Further, the French treasury, depleted by wars in ...

    • Date: 1701
  • The Louisiana Purchase -- Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase

    Napoleonic France Acquires Louisiana On October 1, 1800, within 24 hours of signing a peace settlement with the United States, First Consul of the Republic of France Napoleon Bonaparte, acquired Louisiana from Spain by the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. To the distress of the United States, Napoleon held title to the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans. Napoleon I, Emperor of ...

    • Date: 1800
  • Louisiana as a Spanish Colony -- Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase

    Diplomacy of the French Cession The impetus to cede the French colony of Louisiana to the Spanish was the long, expensive conflict of the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Year's War, between France and Great Britain. Initially, France offered Louisiana to Spain in order to bring Spain into the conflict on the French side. Spain declined. Spanish officials were uncertain ...

    • Date: 1762