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-Interscience
Paperback (560 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

It Happened in Louisiana: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened in America)

By Bonnye Stuart

Globe Pequot
Released: 2015-09-03
Paperback (192 pages)

It Happened in Louisiana: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened in America)
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True Tales from the Pelican State—from the longest Civil War battle to one of history’s worst man-made disasters

Louisiana is well known for its spicy gumbo, Cajun music, and horrific hurricanes, but few may know why Tarzan once swung through the piney woods, how an entrepreneur used a land auction to build a town in a day, or how one man’s vision drew thousands of miracle-seekers to an empty field for over twenty years. It Happened in Louisiana goes behind the scenes to tell these stories and many more, in short episodes that reveal the intriguing people and events that have shaped the Pelican State.

  • Discover how a well-drilling job gone awry turned an entire freshwater lake into a 1,300-foot-deep saltwater pit—and temporarily created the state’s tallest waterfall—in a matter of 48 hours.

  • Relive the night that a life-changing performance finally put a world-famous rock 'n' roll legend on the path to fame.

  • Learn the many disturbing reasons that one Louisiana prison—which today has its own radio station and annually hosts the longest-running prison rodeo in the United States—was once named the “worst prison in America.”

  • Read about a determined, compassionate doctor from New Orleans who created a place of refuge and healing in his attempt to cure societal castaways who suffered from “the illness you do not talk about.”
Bonnye Stuart is a tenth-generation New Orleanian who got her B.A. at Louisiana State University and her M.A. from the University of New Orleans. She is the author of It Happened in New Orleans, More than Petticoats: Remarkable Louisiana Women, and Louisiana Curiosities (all Globe Pequot Press) and Discovering Vintage New Orleans and Haunted New Orleans (both Rowman & Littlefield) and she lives in Tega Cay, SC.

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

By Charles River Editors

Independently published
Paperback (50 pages)

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

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.

The Louisiana Purchase: A History Just for Kids

By KidCaps

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (46 pages)

The Louisiana Purchase: A History Just for Kids
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In 1803, The United States made one of the greatest business deals of all time--they bought 828,000 square miles of land (1/3 the size of the United States!) for $11,250,000! To put it simply, it was a REALLY good deal. In this book, jut for kids, you will learn how this historic deal happened and what impact it had on the United States. KidCaps is an imprint of BookCaps Study Guides; with dozens of books published every month, there's sure to be something just for you! Visit our website to find out more.

Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana (Studies in Legal History)

By Alejandro de la Fuente

Cambridge University Press
Hardcover (294 pages)

Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana (Studies in Legal History)
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How did Africans become 'blacks' in the Americas? Becoming Free, Becoming Black tells the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones. Their communities challenged slaveholders' efforts to make blackness synonymous with slavery. Looking closely at three slave societies - Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana - Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela J. Gross demonstrate that the law of freedom - not slavery - established the meaning of blackness in law. Contests over freedom determined whether and how it was possible to move from slave to free status, and whether claims to citizenship would be tied to racial identity. Laws regulating the lives and institutions of free people of color created the boundaries between black and white, the rights reserved to white people, and the degradations imposed only on black people.

What's Great about Louisiana? (Our Great States)

By Rebecca Felix

LernerClassroom
Released: 2015-08-01
Paperback (32 pages)

What s Great about Louisiana? (Our Great States)
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What's so great about Louisiana? Find out the top ten sites to see or things to do in the Pelican State! We'll explore Louisiana's festive cities, famous swamps, unique wildlife, and vivid history. The Louisiana by Map feature shows where you'll find all the places covered in the book. A special section provides quick state facts such as the state motto, capital, population, animals, foods, and more. Take a fun-filled tour of all there is to discover in Louisiana.

Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities

University Press of Mississippi
Hardcover (900 pages)

Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities
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The Dictionary of Louisiana French (DLF) provides the richest inventory of French vocabulary in Louisiana and reflects precisely the speech of the period from 1930 to the present. This dictionary describes the current usage of French-speaking peoples in the five broad regions of South Louisiana: the coastal marshes, the banks of the Mississippi River, the central area, the north, and the western prairie. Data were collected during interviews from at least five persons in each of twenty-four areas in these regions. In addition to the data collected from fieldwork, the dictionary contains material compiled from existing lexical inventories, from texts published after 1930, and from archival recordings.

The new authoritative resource, the DLF not only contains the largest number of words and expressions but also provides the most complete information available for each entry. Entries include the word in the conventional French spelling, the pronunciation (including attested variants), the part of speech classification, the English equivalent, and the word's use in common phrases. The DLF features a wealth of illustrative examples derived from fieldwork and textual sources and identification of the parish where the entry was collected or the source from which it was compiled. An English-to-Louisiana French index enables readers to find out how particular notions would be expressed in la Louisiane.



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