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 beforeFirst Contact through the Elections of 2012, this sixth edition ofthe classic Louisiana history survey provides an engaging andcomprehensive narrative of what is arguably America’s mostcolorful state.

  • Since the appearance of the first edition of this classic textin 1984, Louisiana: A History has remained the best-lovedand most highly regarded college-level survey of Louisiana on themarket
  • Compiled by some of the foremost experts in the field ofLouisiana history who combine their own research with recenthistorical discoveries
  • Includes complete coverage of the most recent events inpolitical and environmental history, including the continuedaftermath of Katrina and the 2010 BP oil spill
  • Considers the interrelationship between Louisiana history andthat of the American South and the nation as a whole
  • Written in an engaging and accessible style complemented bymore 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.

A Haunted History of Louisiana Plantations (Haunted America)

By Cheryl H. White PhD

The History Press
Released: 2017-09-25
Paperback (128 pages)

A Haunted History of Louisiana Plantations (Haunted America)
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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.

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, andunique cultural qualities of Louisiana history, this new collectionof essays features the finest and latest scholarship.

  • Includes readings featuring  recent scholarship thatexpand 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 Louisianahistory, including women’s history as well as thestate’s diverse ethnic populations

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 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.

Louisiana: A History (States and the Nation)

By Joe Gray Taylor

W. W. Norton & Company
Paperback (240 pages)

Louisiana: A History (States and the Nation)
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  • ISBN13: 9780393301748
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Product Description:

From the earliest colonists through the latest Mardi Gras, Louisiana has had a history as exotic as that of any state. Even its political corruption--extending from French governors for whom office was exploitable property through the "Louisiana Hayride" following the death of Huey Long--seems to have had a glamorous side.

Handing the colony of Louisiana back and forth between their empires, the French and Spanish left a legacy that lives in such forms as the architecture of the Vieux Carre and a civil law deriving from the Napoleonic Code. Acadian refugees, German farmers, black slaves and free blacks, along with Italians, Irish, and the "Kaintucks" who helped Andrew Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans added to the state's distinctiveness. Made rich by sugar cane, cotton, and Mississippi River commerce before the Civil War, Louisiana faced poverty afterward. Battles between Bourbon Democrats and Reconstruction Republicans followed, ultimately involving the Custom House Ring and the Knights of the White Camelia. By methods that remain controversial, Huey Long ended "government by gentlemen" with economic transformations other had sought. Gas, oil, and industrialization have additionally "Americanized" the state. 

Something of Louisiana's historic joie de vivre remains, however, to the gratification of residents and visitors alike; both will enjoy Joe Gray Taylor's telling of the story.

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.

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….

Italian Louisiana: History, Heritage & Tradition (American Heritage)

By Alan G. Gauthreaux

The History Press
Released: 2014-02-04
Paperback (160 pages)

Italian Louisiana: History, Heritage & Tradition (American Heritage)
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At the close of the nineteenth century, Louisiana's ports hosted an influx of Italian immigrants. Like so many immigrant communities before, acclimating to their new home was not easy. Though the Italian contribution to Louisiana's culture is palpable and celebrated, at one time ethnic Italians were constantly embroiled in scandal, sometimes deserved and sometimes as scapegoats. The new immigrants hoped that they would be welcomed and see for themselves the "streets paved with gold." Their new lives, however, were difficult. Italians in Louisiana faced prejudice, violence and political exile for their refusal to accept the southern racial mores. Author and historian Alan Gauthreaux" "documents the experience of those Italians who arrived in Louisiana over one hundred years ago..


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