Louisiana History

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The following important events in the history of Louisiana affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.

1714:  The first settlement was established at Natchitoches.

1717-1722:  Forced immigration from France brought a few thousand settlers. A few thousand more, attracted by free land, came from German-speaking areas of Europe. The importation of African slaves began.

1718:  New Orleans was founded.

1755-1785:  After they had been expelled from Nova Scotia, 5,000 French-speaking Acadians settled in Louisiana.

1763:  France ceded Louisiana to Spain.

1769:  Spain took control of Louisiana and began new record-keeping procedures.

1803:  The Louisiana area was purchased by the United States from France. Although France owned Louisiana between 1800 and 1803, it was still administered by Spain until just before the United States took possession.

1804:  The territory was divided, using the 33rd parallel as the boundary. The northern portion became the District of Louisiana, and the southern portion became the Territory of Orleans.

1805-1807:  The Territory of Orleans was divided into counties, but the functions of the counties were soon taken over by smaller civil divisions called parishes, which followed the boundaries of the old Spanish ecclesiastical parishes.

1810:  Spanish West Florida between the Mississippi and Pearl Rivers, including Baton Rouge, was occupied by the United States and became part of the Territory of Orleans.

1812:  The Territory of Orleans became the state of Louisiana.

1861:  Louisiana seceded from the Union. It was readmitted in 1868.

Two sources for studying the history of Louisiana are:

Davis, Edwin Adams. Louisiana: A Narrative History. 2d ed. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Claitor's Book Store, 1965. (FHL book 976.3 H2d.)

Fortier, Alcee. A History of Louisiana. 4 vols. New York, NY: Manzi, Joyant, and Co., 1903. (FHL film 1036330 items 1-4.)