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
Product Description:
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

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.

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.

The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square

By Ned Sublette

Tantor Audio
Released: 2017-10-17
Audible Audiobook

The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square
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Offering a new perspective on the unique cultural influences of New Orleans, this entertaining history captures the soul of the city and reveals its impact on the rest of the nation. Focused on New Orleans' first century of existence, a comprehensive, chronological narrative of the political, cultural, and musical development of Louisiana's early years is presented. This innovative history tracks the important roots of American music back to the swamp town, making clear the effects of centuries-long struggles among France, Spain, and England on the city's unique culture, and the role of the Senegambia, Congo, and Haiti on the making of Afro-Louisiana. The origins of jazz and the city's eclectic musical influences, including the role of the slave trade, are also revealed.

Featuring little known facts about the cultural development of New Orleans - such as the real significance of gumbo, the origins of the tango, and the first appearance of the words vaudeville and voodoo - this rich historical narrative explains how New Orleans' colonial influences shape the city still today.

The Cajuns: The History of the French-Speaking Ethnic Group in Canada and Louisiana

By Charles River Editors

Charles River Editors
Released: 2019-02-27
Kindle Edition (62 pages)

The Cajuns: The History of the French-Speaking Ethnic Group in Canada and Louisiana
 
Product Description:
*Includes pictures
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

Deep within the bayous and swamps of Louisiana resides a population descended from an exodus. These people, called Cajuns or Acadians, were expelled from their homelands. Persecuted and homeless, they traveled hundreds of miles south in search of a new home and ultimately settled in the Pelican State, where they made new lives for themselves free from their British conquerors. Though not always warmly welcomed, they were accepted, allowing them to practice their different culture amidst their new neighbors.

Though their home has changed flags over the centuries, the people themselves have remained, retaining a culture that goes back several centuries. While people continue to assimilate, some have continued to live same lifestyles their ancestors did for generations, and they continue to fascinate outsiders, so much so that they occasionally end up being featured on the History Channel.

The Cajuns: The History of the French-Speaking Ethnic Group in Canada and Louisiana profiles the people, from their origins to their history across North America. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Cajuns like never before.

Louisiana History Collection - Volume 2 (Louisiana History Boxed Sets)

By Jennifer Blake

Steel Magnolia Press
Released: 2012-11-17
Kindle Edition (1376 pages)

Louisiana History Collection - Volume 2 (Louisiana History Boxed Sets)
 
Product Description:
Romance ignites amidst the tumult of a territory striving to find its identity as it passes from pre-colonial rule to US statehood and beyond. Volumes 1 and 2 of the Louisiana History Collection present these lush, politically tense historical romances in chronological order.

SPANISH SERENADE
Pilar persuades a notorious bandit to abduct her as she travels to her arranged wedding. Everything goes wrong, and she is left to El Leon’s mercy. But what if he has none…?

PERFUME OF PARADISE
Elene’s perfume has Voodoo magic meant to captivate her groom. But when an island uprising halts the wedding, it’s the ship captain trapped with her who feels its effects. Is the desire between Ryan and Elene real – or as false as those who surround them?

PRISONER OF DESIRE
Anya abducts infamous duelist Ravel Duralde to save a young man from his deadly skill. Ravel is intrigued – and in no hurry to escape. Desire builds inside their intimate prison, yet danger lies outside, waiting for Anya to let him go….

SOUTHERN RAPTURE
Strait-laced Lettie arrives in Louisiana from the northeast after the Civil War – and her true nature flowers in the southern heat. She must be depraved that she can revel in the kisses of both the mysterious nightrider known as The Thorne and sweetly handsome Ranny who was brain-injured during the war….

History of Louisiana [Illustrated] (1774)

By Le Page du Pratz

Released: 2016-08-21
Kindle Edition (374 pages)

History of Louisiana [Illustrated] (1774)
 
Product Description:
Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz (1695–1775) was an ethnographer, historian, and naturalist who is best known for his 1774 book "History of Louisiana".

"History of Louisiana" covers the pre-United States history of the Midwest and much of the South including the following states: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The "Louisiana" being referred to by the author in this book's title is describes as

"that part of North America, which is bounded on the south by the Gulf of Mexico; on the east by Carolina, an English colony, and by a part of Canada; on the west by New Mexico; and on the north, in part by Canada; in part it extends, without any assignable bounds, to the Terrae Incognitae, adjoining to Hudson’s Bay. Its breadth is about two hundred leagues, extending between the Spanish and English settlements; its length undetermined, as being altogether unknown."

The memoir recounts Le Page's years in the Louisiana colony from 1718 to 1734, when he learned the Natchez language and befriended native leaders. He gives lengthy descriptions of Natchez society and its culture, including the funeral rituals associated with the 1725 death of Tattooed Serpent, the second-highest ranking chief among the people.

It also includes his account of Moncacht-apé, a Yazoo explorer who told him of completing travel to the Pacific Coast and back, likely in the late 17th or early 18th century. Through this traveler, Le Page learned of oral traditions held by indigenous people of the West Coast. They told of the first Native Americans reaching North America by a land bridge from Asia. Le Page's book was carried as a guide by the Lewis and Clark Expedition as it explored the Louisiana Purchase starting in 1804.

On 25 May 1718, Le Page left La Rochelle, France, with 800 men on one of three ships bound for Louisiana. He arrived on 25 August 1718. Le Page lived in La Louisiane from 1718 to 1734; about half of the period, 1720 to 1728, he lived near Fort Rosalie and Natchez on the Mississippi River. He had land and cultivated tobacco.

When Le Page wrote his memoir more than a decade after returning to France, he used the verbatim words of many of his Native informants, rather than describing the "manners and customs of the Indians" in the detached fashion of so many later colonial authors. Pratz says that the French word Mississippi is a contraction of the Indian term "Meact Chassipi", which literally denotes the ancient father of rivers.

Le Page lived at Natchez from 1720 to 1728 under the colonization scheme organized by John Law and the Company of the Indies. His familiarity with the local Natchez, and knowledge of their language and customs, is the basis for some of the unique aspects of his writings. He returned to New Orleans in 1728 to take an appointment as manager of the Company's plantation across from the river from the city; he managed 200 slaves in the cultivation of tobacco. By this move, he avoided being killed in the so-called Natchez Rebellion or Natchez Massacre of 1729. Tensions and retaliatory attacks had escalated as European settlers encroached on Indian territory.

During the uprising by the Natchez, Chickasaw and Yazoo, which Le Page described in detail, the Natives destroyed Fort Rosalie and killed nearly all of the male French colonists there.

Popular opinion in France depreciated the vast resources of the great province of the Mississippi basin. The first purpose of M. du Pratz was to correct false impressions and to give the intelligent French public a true view of the great fertile valley of the New World. The presence of Pratz in the colony for sixteen years (1718 to 1734) gives to his History of Louisiana a value which his manifest egotism and whimsical theories cannot entirely obscure. It was an authority in the boundary discussions.

French Rule in Louisiana: From New France to Creole Culture

By in60Learning

Independently published
Paperback (40 pages)

French Rule in Louisiana: From New France to Creole Culture
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Smarter in sixty minutes. Get smarter in just 60 minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each. In American colonial history, the Brits had New England, but the French had New France. In the 1600s, the French began ruling the Louisiana Territory, which spanned from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to parts of Canada. What happened between the British and French colonies sealed the future of the English-speaking nation we know today. This e-book details the rise and fall of New France, describing the role of the Seven Years’ War, Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Louisiana Purchase. Though French colonization ended over two-hundred years ago, it left behind a distinct French flair and unique Creole culture that lives on in Louisiana today.

A Haunted History of Louisiana Plantations

By Professor of History Cheryl H White

History Press Library Editions
Hardcover (130 pages)

A Haunted History of Louisiana Plantations
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Louisiana plantations evoke images of grandeur and elegance. Beyond the facade of stately homes are stories of hope and subjugation, tragedy and suffering, shame and perseverance and war and conquest. After sixteen workers axed most of the Houmas House's ancient oak trees, referred to as "the Gentlemen," eight of the surviving trees eerily twisted overnight in grief over the losses wrought by a great Mississippi River flood. An illegal duel to reclaim lost honor left the grounds of Natchez's Cherokee Plantation bloodstained, but the victim's spirit may still wander there today. A mutilated slave girl named Chloe still haunts the halls of the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville. Cheryl H. White and W. Ryan Smith reveal the dark history, folklore and lasting human cost of Louisiana plantation life.

Vestiges of Grandeur: Plantations of Louisiana's River Road

By Richard Sexton

Chronicle Books Llc
Hardcover (256 pages)

Vestiges of Grandeur: Plantations of Louisiana s River Road
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  • Chronicle Books Llc
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In an evocative sequel to the acclaimed New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence, author and photographer Richard Sexton returns with an in-depth visual journey through the hidden mansions—some inhabited, many now long abandoned—of Louisiana's River Road. Bordering the Mississippi, these antebellum landmarks were once the epitome of gracious living in the Deep South. Over the past century, these grand dwellings have slowly succumbed to time, humidity, and the reclamation of the land: first by nature, then by real-estate developers who built subdivisions, oil refineries, and strip malls where curtains of Spanish moss once swayed from the live oaks. This collection—featuring over 200 haunting color photographs with extensive captions explaining the architectural significance and history of each structure—is a beautiful elegy for a rapidly disappearing landscape and its ghosts.


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