The presence of man in Louisiana dates back to 16,000 years ago. When the Spaniards arrived, the Caddo, Atakapa, Chitimacha Tunica tribes inhabited this region. In 1541, the Spanish Hernando de Soto explored the region. Later, the Frenchman Robert Cavelier, lord de La Salle, ventured into this territory on his expedition through the Mississippi, to later in 1682 reclaim the territory between Canada, and the Gulf of Mexico, the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains., as a French colony of Louisiana. French colonization began in 1699 with the founding of Biloxi Bay and shortly thereafter Natchitoches was established. In 1712 the colony of Louisiana, it was administered by Antoine Crozat and later by John Law’s company. In 1718, the French founded New Orleans which became the capital of the colony starting in 1722. In 1731, the inability of the commercial companies to exploit the resources, the royal officers began to directly administer this region. During this period numerous European settlers settled in Louisiana, among them, Swiss, German, settlers from Nova Scotia and numerous Spaniards. With the treaty of 1762 that ended the Indian wars against Great Britain and France, the western area of the Mississippi valley, the region where the state of Louisiana now stands, became a dependency of Spain.
- See ejiaxing.org for Louisiana state facts, including geography, climate, flora and fauna as well as major cities.
In 1800 France took back Louisiana and in 1803 Napoleon sold the territory to the United States for fifteen million dollars, in an operation promoted by Congress after a much-criticized proposal by President Thomas Jefferson. This fact marked the first step in the expansion of the United States westward. In 1804 Congress determined that the territory of the present state of Louisiana became autonomous, and was called Orleans. In 1810, the territory of Orleans became a state, to which was added the region of West Florida, which became independent of Spain. In 1815, Andrew Jackson’s troops fought a decisive battle near New Orleans against the British led by Edward Pakenham that definitively ended the war of 1812 between England and its ancient American colonies. After independence, Louisiana prospered, thanks to the production of cotton and sugar, supported by the slave system and technical progress, such as the Whitney cotton gin, and the sugar production system developed by Boré. The Civil War (1861-1865) caused enormous damage to Louisiana, since from 1862 New Orleans and the rest of the territory, was occupied by Union troops, which destroyed the production system, and caused a lot of material damage.
In 1882 Baton Rouge was designated as the new capital of Louisiana. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the discovery of oil favored the revival of the Louisiana economy. Thus, the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans became the country’s main trade routes. From the late 1920s, Louisiana was ruled by Huey P. Long, a governor and senator who propitiated the development of Louisiana’s infrastructure, but who simultaneously controlled a network of companies. Senator Long was assassinated in 1935 and many of his companies were charged with fraud.
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Despite the presence of many blacks in the state, it was only in 1967 that a black person, (Ernest N. Morial), was elected as a representative in the State Congress. In 1977, Morial was elected mayor of New Orleans, a milestone in the fight against racial segregation in this state.
In economic terms, after the Second World War, Louisiana continued to grow thanks to the activity of its shipyards, the oil industry and the aerospace sector. The opening of a canal in 1963, which shortened New Orleans’ access to the Gulf of Mexico, and the boom in tourism, brought the ancient capital of Louisiana to enormous prosperity. The Port of New Orleans is the second most important in terms of exports to the United States.
Louisiana places to visit
The word “picturesque” is usually an overused term, which sometimes hides a weakness of description and a deficiency in the unspeakable… when it is not a shortcut. In Louisiana this adjective acquires all its value: in fact it seems to have been invented for this region rich in history and traditions for its population, cities, landscapes. Each state has a nickname, sometimes two. Louisiana, on the other hand, has many: “Creole state”, “Bayou state”, “Pelican state”, “Magnolia state” etc: all terms that indicate that in the spirit of the Americans and in that of foreign visitors, Louisiana is a book of pictures, whose bright colors resist the ravages of time well.
Bayous, Cajuns, Creoles and jazz illustrate, together with the New Orleans carnival, a country in which the last meanders of the Mississippi cross a territory essentially made up of swamps, of sometimes tormented beauty, as tormented are some aspects of life in Louisiana, yesterday and today.
Plantation Alley –Today only 40 of the 350 thriving properties that once thrived in these lands remain. Just over a dozen, along the Great River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which can be visited, form the so-called Plantation Alley. The Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, several films were set, including Interview with the Vampire (1994). Further east is the Laura Plantation, with its Creole house in cypress wood. A 15-minute drive from New Orleans is the Destrehan Plantation, the oldest documented plantation in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Demonstrations of indigo dyeing and other craft activities are held there.
Bayou Teche –The Bayou Teche runs north to south along the scenic route between Lafayette and the Atchafalaya Marsh. Its vegetation full of beautiful moss-covered oaks is a taste of the entire region. At Martin Lake, in the Nature Conservancy’s Cypress Island reserve, you can observe the fauna of the swamp, on a walking or boat trip. Bayou Teche also passes through New Iberia, a city famous for its large plantations, such as Shadows-on-the-Teche, now converted into a museum. Turning to Avery Island you reach the Mcllhenny Tabasco Company, a must for gourmets.
Tourist and cultural places– Louisiana is one of the states of the United States with a more marked identity than the others, due to the influences of the different cultural groups that have lived in this state for centuries. The Creoles, as the white descendants of the French or Spaniards are called, have developed and maintained their cultural manifestations which are reflected in architecture, cuisine, use of language and literature. Jazz, and blues, are musical styles that developed in this state. From the ethnographic and linguistic point of view, the community of Acadians is of great interest, colonists of French origin expelled from Nova Scotia in the 18th century and who settled in the swampy areas of Louisiana.
The most important cultural institutions are: the Louisiana State Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Louisiana Center for Arts and Science, and the Louisiana Museum of History in Alexandria.
The historic monuments reflect Louisiana’s picturesque past, which was French and Spanish territory before it became part of the United States in 1803. The Vieux Carré (French Quarter) historic district in New Orleans is famous for its 18th century buildings and XIX, like the cathedral of Saint Louis (1794). The National Historical Park Jean Lafitte is located on the site of the Battle of New Orleans (1815).
Curiosity– The most important festival in Louisiana and which attracts thousands of tourists every year in the months of January or February, is Mardi Gras, a kind of carnival that is celebrated in the city of New Orleans.