Louisiana History - the history of Louisiana
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Louisiana   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Louisiana History

   
 

Louisiana History


In pre-Columbian times, the area that is today the state of Louisiana was home to many Native American peoples. These included the Atakapa, Chitmacha, Bayougoula, Houma, Avoyel, Tunica and Caddo.

The first Europeans to visit the region were Spanish explorers in the 16th century. In 1528, Panfilo de Narvaez's expedition visited the mouth of the Mississippi River, and in 1541, Hernando de Soto crossed the region. The French began arriving in the late 17th century and quickly established settlements. Robert Cavelier de La Salle named the region "Louisiana" in honor of the French King, Louis XIV, in 1682. And a settlement, Fort Maurepas, was established in 1699 (at what is now Ocean Springs, Mississippi, near Biloxi.

The French colony of Louisiana contained land on both sides of the Mississippi River and extended all the way to Canada, including all or part of the following present-day states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Following the Seven Years' War (generally known in the US as the "French and Indian War"), control of most of the territory east of the Mississippi River, with the exception of the area around New Orleans passed to the British, and the rest of French Louisiana became a colony of Spain. During this period, French-speaking refugees from Acadia (French colonies in Canada and New England) arrived in what is today Southwest Louisiana, their descendants eventually becoming known as the Cajun people.

In 1800, France reacquired Louisiana from Spain in a secret treaty, however three years, in 1803, the territory was sold to the United States, in the Louisiana Purchase.

The United States divided Louisiana into two parts; the Orleans Territory (which was to become the state of Louisiana in 1812), and the District of Louisiana (which was all the rest of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase).

A boundary dispute then arose between the US and Spain over West Florida, with the Spanish insisting that this region had not been sold back to France in 1800. However, in the meantime, British settlers have moved into the area, and rebelled against Spain in 1810 forming the short-lived West Florida Republic, which was later annexed to the United States (eventually becoming Louisiana's Florida Parishes) by Presidential proclamation.

During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Louisiana seceded and joined the Confederates States of America. New Orleans was captured by the Union in the Spring of 1862, and because a significant part of the state's population had pro-Union sympathies, those parts of the state which were under federal control were designated as a state within the Union - even going so far as having their own representatives in the Congress.

Following the Civil War, Louisiana went through a difficult period of Reconstruction. For a brief period, the idea of equality for former slaves flourished, but soon segregation, Jim Crow laws, and racial discrimination were imposed. The famous court case, Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was legal so long as it did not result in obvious inequality ("separate but equal") was a result of these events in Louisiana. Racial segregation lasted for the best of a century, only being abolished in the 1960s, as a result of the nationwide Civil Rights struggle.

In the first half of 20th century, New Orleans became an important center for jazz music. During the period of the Great Depression, the state's Governor, Huey Long, became famous for his radical populist and redistribution policies.

In 2005, Louisiana (along with other states on the Gulf of Mexico coast) was hit by Hurricane Katrina. In particular, when New Orleans was battered by the hurricane, the city's levees and flood walls were breached, and much of the city, which was largely below sea level, was flooded.


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Louisiana: A History

Wiley-Blackwell
Paperback (552 pages)

Louisiana: A History
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Covering the lively, even raucous, history of Louisiana from before First Contact through the Elections of 2012, this sixth edition of the classic Louisiana history survey provides an engaging and comprehensive narrative of what is arguably America’s most colorful state.

  • Since the appearance of the first edition of this classic text in 1984, Louisiana: A History has remained the best-loved and most highly regarded college-level survey of Louisiana on the market
  • Compiled by some of the foremost experts in the field of Louisiana history who combine their own research with recent historical discoveries
  • Includes complete coverage of the most recent events in political and environmental history, including the continued aftermath of Katrina and the 2010 BP oil spill
  • Considers the interrelationship between Louisiana history and that of the American South and the nation as a whole
  • Written in an engaging and accessible style complemented by more than a hundred photographs and maps

Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana's Free People of Color

Brand: Louisiana State University Press
Released: 2000-08-01
Paperback (368 pages)

Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana s Free People of Color
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The word Creole evokes a richness rivaled only by the term's widespread misunderstanding. Now both aspects of this unique people and culture are given thorough, illuminating scrutiny in Creole, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary history of Louisiana's Creole population. Written by scholars, many of Creole descent, the volume wrangles with the stuff of legend and conjecture while fostering an appreciation for the Creole contribution to the American mosaic.
The collection opens with a historically relevant perspective found in Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson's 1916 piece "People of Color of Louisiana" and continues with contemporary writings: Joan M. Martin on the history of quadroon balls; Michel Fabre and Creole expatriates in France; Barbara Rosendale Duggal with a debiased view of Marie Laveau; Fehintola Mosadomi and the downtrodden roots of Creole grammar; Anthony G. Barthelemy on skin color and racism as an American legacy; Caroline Senter on Reconstruction poets of political vision; and much more. Violet Harrington Bryan, Lester Sullivan, Jennifer DeVere Brody, Sybil Kein, Mary Gehman, Arthi A. Anthony, and Mary L. Morton offer excellent commentary on topics that range from the lifestyles of free women of color in the nineteenth century to the Afro-Caribbean links to Creole cooking.
By exploring the vibrant yet marginalized culture of the Creole people across time, Creole goes far in diminishing past and present stereotypes of this exuberant segment of our society. A study that necessarily embraces issues of gender, race and color, class, and nationalism, it speaks to the tensions of an increasingly ethnically mixed mainstream America.

Teche: A History of Louisiana's Most Famous Bayou (America's Third Coast Series)

By Shane K. Bernard

University Press of Mississippi
Released: 2016-11-03
Hardcover (272 pages)

Teche: A History of Louisiana s Most Famous Bayou (America s Third Coast Series)
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Recipient of a 2017 Book of the Year Award presented by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

Shane K. Bernard's Teche examines this legendary waterway of the American Deep South. Bernard delves into the bayou's geologic formation as a vestige of the Mississippi and Red Rivers, its prehistoric Native American occupation, and its colonial settlement by French, Spanish, and, eventually, Anglo-American pioneers. He surveys the coming of indigo, cotton, and sugar; steam-powered sugar mills and riverboats; and the brutal institution of slavery. He also examines the impact of the Civil War on the Teche, depicting the running battles up and down the bayou and the sporadic gunboat duels, when ironclads clashed in the narrow confines of the dark, sluggish river.

Describing the misery of the postbellum era, Bernard reveals how epic floods, yellow fever, racial violence, and widespread poverty disrupted the lives of those who resided under the sprawling, moss-draped live oaks lining the Teche's banks. Further, he chronicles the slow decline of the bayou, as the coming of the railroad, automobiles, and highways reduced its value as a means of travel. Finally, he considers modern efforts to redesign the Teche using dams, locks, levees, and other water-control measures. He examines the recent push to clean and revitalize the bayou after years of desecration by litter, pollutants, and invasive species. Illustrated with historic images and numerous maps, this book will be required reading for anyone seeking the colorful history of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

As a bonus, the second part of the book describes Bernard's own canoe journey down the Teche's 125-mile course. This modern personal account from the field reveals the current state of the bayou and the remarkable people who still live along its banks.

Acadiana: Louisiana's Historic Cajun Country

By Carl A. Brasseaux

Brand: Louisiana State University Press
Released: 2011-05-18
Hardcover (200 pages)

Acadiana: Louisiana s Historic Cajun Country
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"Acadiana" summons up visions of a legendary and exotic world of moss-draped cypress, cocoa-colored bayous, subtropical wildlife, and spicy indigenous cuisine. The ancestral home of Cajuns and Creoles, this twenty-two-parish area of south Louisiana encompasses a broad range of people, places, and events. In their historical and pictorial tour of the region, author Carl A. Brasseaux and photographer Philip Gould explore in depth this fascinating and complex world.
As passionate documentarians of all things Cajun and Creole, Brasseaux and Gould delve into the topography, culture, and economy of Acadiana.
In two hundred color photographs of architecture, landscapes, wildlife, and artifacts, Gould portrays the rich history still visible in the area, while Brasseaux's engagingly written narrative covers the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century story of settlement and development in the region. Brasseaux brings the story up to date, recounting devastating hurricanes and coastal degradation.
From living-history attractions such as Vermilionville, the Acadian Village, and Longfellow-Evangeline State Park to music venues, festivals, and crawfish boils, Acadiana depicts a resilient and vibrant way of life and presents a vivid portrait of a culture that continues to captivate, charm, and endure.
For all those who want to explore these people and this place, Brasseaux and Gould have provided an insightful written and visual history.

The Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783. the History and Passenger Lists of the Islenos Volunteer Recruits and Their Families

Clearfield
Released: 2011-07-05
Paperback (120 pages)

The Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783. the History and Passenger Lists of the Islenos Volunteer Recruits and Their Families
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This unique book contains the passenger lists of the eight vessels that brought Canary Islanders to Louisiana between 1778 and 1783. It gives a brief account of how the Canary Islanders came to be transported to Louisiana and of the interesting circumstances and personages connected with this migration. The islanders, or islenos, were classified upon arrival as farmers or soldiers; those who were soldiers were enrolled in various Spanish regiments for training, and those who were farmers were settled in the Parishes of St. Bernard, Iberville, Assumption, and Iberia. The 2,000 Canary Islanders, who are listed by vessel and separately indexed thereunder, are named, first by the head of the family and then by relation to the head of the family, as, for example, wife, son, daughter, etc. Further information includes the ages of the children, dates of embarkation, and names of captains of the vessels.

May God Have Mercy On Us...: The Twenty Days of the Cane River Campaign in Louisiana

By Weldon Nash & John Taylor

23 House
Paperback (156 pages)

May God Have Mercy On Us...: The Twenty Days of the Cane River Campaign in Louisiana
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In April 1864 in the state of Louisiana, the armies of both the Union and the Confederacy were in total disarray. With a Southern victory at Mansfield and a marginal win by the North at Pleasant Hill, the Red River Campaign was effectively over. The Union Army under Banks and the Navy under Porter were in a full retreat southward. The Southern Army was divided. Instead of dedicating the full resources to pursue the Yankees, Confederate General Kirby Smith turned his attention northward. He split his troops under General Richard Taylor and led three divisions up into Arkansas instead of focusing on the final defeat and capture of the Northern troops, munitions, and naval vessels. After entrenching at Grand Ecore, Banks led his troops southward along the Cane River toward a conflict with Confederate General Bee at a crossing known as Monett s Ferry. Any number of wonderful books have been written that document the entire Red River Campaign of the Civil War. Most give the Battle of Monett s Ferry only a paragraph or two in the overall affair, if that. In reality, the entire Cane River episode of the war lasted for almost a month and included a myriad of confrontations from minor skirmishes to all-out battle, a near-mutiny on the side of the North, a struggle for ships to escape down the Red River, and a wave of wanton destruction through what is now Natchitoches Parish. This book brings together all the elements of the war that took place along the Cane River in Louisiana in the spring of 1864. Whenever possible, the story is told in the words of the people who actually lived it the soldiers and officers through their diaries, letters, and journal entries. Welcome to the month of hell that took place from the high cliffs of Grand Ecore all the way down to the ill-fated city of Alexandria The Cane River Campaign.

Harcourt School Publishers Horizons Louisiana Student Edition World History 2007 [Horizons 05] by HARCOURT SCHOOL PUBLISHERS [HARCOURT SCHOOL PUBLISHERS,2004] [Hardcover]

By aa

HARCOURT SCHOOL PUBLISHERS,2004
Paperback

Harcourt School Publishers Horizons Louisiana Student Edition World History 2007 [Horizons 05] by HARCOURT SCHOOL PUBLISHERS [HARCOURT SCHOOL PUBLISHERS,2004] [Hardcover]
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Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America

By Marcia Gaudet

University Press of Mississippi
Hardcover (221 pages)

Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America
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Mysterious and misunderstood, distorted by biblical imagery of disfigurement and uncleanness, Hansen's disease or leprosy has all but disappeared from America's consciousness. In Carville, Louisiana, the closed doors of the nation's last center for the treatment of leprosy open to reveal stories of sadness, separation, and even strength in the face of what was once a life-wrenching diagnosis.

Drawn from interviews with living patients and extensive research in the leprosarium's archives, Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America tells the stories of former patients at the National Hansen's Disease Center. For over a century, from 1894 until 1999, Carville was the site of the only in-patient hospital in the continental United States for the treatment of Hansen's disease, the preferred designation for leprosy.

Patients-exiled there by law for treatment and for separation from the rest of society-reveal how they were able to cope with the devastating blow the diagnosis of leprosy dealt them. Leprosy was so frightening and so poorly understood that entire families would suffer and be shunned if one family member contracted the disease. When patients entered Carville, they typically left everything behind, including their legal names and their hopes for the future.

Former patients at Carville give their views of the outside world and of the culture they forged within the treatment center, which included married and individual living quarters, a bar, and even a jail. Those quarantined in the leprosarium created their own Mardi Gras celebrations, their own newspaper, and their own body of honored stories in which fellow sufferers of Hansen's disease prevailed over trauma and ostracism. Through their memories and stories, we see their very human quest for identity and endurance with dignity, humor, and grace.

The History of the Acadians of Louisiana

By Zachary Richard

Univ of Louisiana at Lafayette
Paperback (125 pages)

The History of the Acadians of Louisiana
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Inspired by an earlier volume published in New Brunswick dealing with the history of the Acadian community there, this work shares the same history as the Acadians of the Canadian maritimes up to the Deportation of 1755. At that point, The History of the Acadians of Louisiana follows the route of exile that brought the Acadians to Louisiana. It studies the evolution of the Acadian community in Louisiana and furnishes a portrait of contemporary Acadian/Cajun culture through its social traditions and artistic expression. Rich in archival images and captivating photography, the book is a beginner's guide to the Acadian/Cajun experience of Louisiana. English version of Histoires des Acadiennes et des Acadiens de la Louisiane, Fall 2012.

Hidden History of Acadiana

By William J. Thibodeaux

The History Press
Released: 2019-07-22
Paperback (160 pages)

Hidden History of Acadiana
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Tragedy and destruction abound in this region and in these pages, but heroism, glory and Cajun flair come in equal measure. From the improbable Thoroughbred Twenty-Twoinit, which defied odds and burned Vegas oddsmakers at Evangeline Downs, to the destitute Reconstruction-era Cajuns who sought recompense from the federal government after the war, history comes to life in these retellings by historian and yarn spinner William Thibodeaux. Before "serial killer" was a term, a vile murderer stalked the streets of then-tiny Lafayette, inciting unimaginable terror. All too familiar are harrowing tales of locals who battened down the hatches as horrible storms roared forth. From the hills to the bayous, Acadiana has quite a story to tell, especially for those who lean in close to listen.



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