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Honoring The States: The 18th State Admitted To The USA - Louisiana...

The 18th state admitted to the US was Louisiana on April 30th, 1812. The state was named after King Louis XIV of France. Louisiana is home to the world's largest bridge (24 miles long) over a body of water, known as the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. It is the state that is known as the birthplace of jazz. Instead of counties, Louisiana is the only state in the US with "parishes" - 64 of them with various forms of governments. On March 2, 1699, the very first Mardi Gras was celebrated, and it grew into a much larger event with parade floats in the 1800's. It was created by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville when he left France to create a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The state capital is Baton Rouge. The state tree is the Bald Cypress. The state bird is the Brown Pelican. The state flower is the Magnolia.

Louisiana can be traced back to about 10,000 years ago, when indigenous peoples occupied the land. The earliest inhabitants of the area we now call Louisiana were the Chitmacha, Atakapa, Caddo, Choctaw, Houma, Natchez, and Tunica. The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana is the only tribe to still live on part of their original homeland. Much like every state before Louisiana, the indigenous people worked with the settlers until they were killed, enslaved, or driven away from their home land. Between 1718 and 1734, French colonists like Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz met and learned how to farm, hunt, dress, worship, celebrate, and morn the dead from these Native Americans. He lived with the Chitimacha people, as well as the Natchez. The Natchez traded guns and blankets with the French. At first they cooperated with one another, but later there was fighting and eventually an all out raid that ended in deaths of both the French and the Natchez people.

In 1754, North America started to feel the conflict between the British and French over border disputes. The French and Indian War began in 1754, and lasted until 1763 with the Treaty of Paris that stated that France give up all of its territories in North America. The British got revenge on the Native Americans that fought against them by cutting off their supplies and then forcing them to obey their new rules. The French were eventually led by Napoleon Bonaparte, and he used King Charles IV of Spain to consider to cede Louisiana back to France. The Treaty of San Ildefonso became the retrocession in a secret agreement that was signed on October 1, 1800 between Spain and the French Republic. Within 24-hours of signing a peace settlement with the US, Spain agreed to exchange Louisiana for areas of Tuscany to Napoleon Bonaparte of the Republic of France. President Thomas Jefferson prepared for the French presence in the Mississippi Valley, but he also took note that the war between France and Great Britain could jeopardize the land agreements held with France. The US contacted France in order to purchase New Orleans, but Napoleon's people offered all of the Territory instead. Jefferson agreed the "The Louisiana Purchase", and the size of the US more than doubled. Size means power, and this growth was a way to challenge the British with more power. On October 20, 1803, the Senate approved funding for the US purchased of the Louisiana Territory. From 1803-1806, local government sent military units and explorers like Lewis and Clark to learn about and map the territory. Less than a decade later, the Use admitted Louisiana to the Union. By this time, New Orleans was the 5th largest city in the US.

The rest is history!

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