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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  • Wiley-Blackwell
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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

A History of Louisiana (Classic Reprint)

By Grace King

Forgotten Books
Paperback (336 pages)

A History of Louisiana (Classic Reprint)
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Louisiana (True Book: My United States)

By Jennifer Zeiger

Childrens Pr
Paperback (48 pages)

Louisiana (True Book: My United States)
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From rural swampland to the historic streets of New Orleans, Louisiana is home to many incredible sights. Readers will get a taste of everything this incredible southern state has to offer as they explore its most notable locations and absorb the local culture. They will also explore its rich history, learn about the local government, and more.

History of Louisiana, From Its First Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time (Classic Reprint)

By E. Bunner

Forgotten Books
Paperback (266 pages)

History of Louisiana, From Its First Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time (Classic Reprint)
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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.

Louisiana:History Of An American State

By Anne Campbell

Brand: 2007
Hardcover (594 pages)

Louisiana:History Of An American State
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An upper elementary or middle school textbook. Contains many color illustrations, as well as maps and charts.

Louisiana: A History

By Light Townsend Cummins & Edward F. Haas

Brand: Wiley-Blackwell
Paperback (513 pages)

Louisiana: A History
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From its ancient Indian peoples to its troubled beginning as a French colony to the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana has a history that, whatever else one might say about the state, has never been dull. This fifth edition of our classic survey history of Louisiana reflects a re-examination on the part of its esteemed team of authors of recent historical findings as well as of their own research, ensuring that Louisiana: A History will continue to present the most comprehensive and current account of the many different peoples that have and currently do make the rich, colorful land known as Louisiana their home.

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

By Shane K. Bernard

University Press of Mississippi
Hardcover (272 pages)

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

The Cajuns: Americanization of a People

By Shane K. Bernard

University Press of Mississippi
Paperback (220 pages)

The Cajuns: Americanization of a People
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The past sixty years have shaped and reshaped the group of French-speaking Louisiana people known as the Cajuns. During this period they have become much like other Americans and yet have remained strikingly distinct. The Cajuns: Americanization of a People explores these six decades and analyzes the forces that had an impact on Louisiana's Acadiana.

In the 1940s, when America entered World War II, so too did the isolated Cajuns. Cajun soldiers fought alongside troops from Brooklyn and Berkeley and absorbed aspects of new cultures. In the 1950s as rock 'n' roll and television crackled across Louisiana airwaves, Cajun music makers responded with their own distinct versions. In the 1960s, empowerment and liberation movements turned the South upside down. During the 1980s, as things Cajun became an absorbing national fad, "Cajun" became a kind of brand identity used for selling everything from swamp tours to boxed rice dinners. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the advent of a new information age launched "Cyber-Cajuns" onto a worldwide web. All these forces have pushed and pulled at the fabric of Cajun life but have not destroyed it.

A Cajun himself, the author of this book has an intense personal fascination in his people.

By linking seemingly local events in the Cajuns' once isolated south Louisiana homeland to national and even global events, Bernard demonstrates that by the middle of the twentieth century the Cajuns for the first time in their ethnic story were engulfed in the currents of mainstream American life and yet continued to make outstandingly distinct contributions.

Louisiana Legacies: Readings in the History of the Pelican State

By Janet Allured

Brand: Wiley-Blackwell
Paperback (352 pages)

Louisiana Legacies: Readings in the History of the Pelican State
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Showcasing the colorful, even raucous, political, social, and unique cultural qualities of Louisiana history, this new collection of essays features the finest and latest scholarship.

  • Includes readings featuring  recent scholarship that expand on traditional historical accounts
  • Includes material on every region of Louisiana
  • Covers  a wide range of fields, including social, environmental, and economic history
  • Detailed, focused material on different areas in Louisiana history, including women’s history as well as the state’s diverse ethnic populations


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