Happy 209th Birthday Louisiana: The Story Is Interesting
I am cringing to turn 40, and Louisiana is over here looking as good as ever, mostly, at 209.
April 30, 1812 was the birth of the boot named after King Louis XIV. The land Louisiana sits on was fought over a few times back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Before the sale, areas we know to this day had already been established, there just wasn't a name for the state yet. Settlers had already come down from Canada, New Orleans was the hub of trade, and the Mississippi River was the main route to get north into the United States.
President Thomas Jefferson wanted the United States to buy New Orleans, worried that Napoleon would shut down the Mississippi River as a way for the U.S. to receive supplies. Jefferson sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans and the rights to the Mississippi River for $10 million for fear of losing out on negotiations and the area being cut off completely to the United States. As they began to talk about the offer, French Foreign Minister Talleyrand came out of left field and asked how much the United States would pay for everything.
There wasn't time to get word back to Jefferson for instructions on what to do with the new offer, so Monroe and Livingston agreed to the purchase at the price tag of $15 million for all 828,000 square miles of land. This land reached from New Orleans all the way north into Canada. Just like most Louisiana natives, they just sort of winged it as they went along with the agreement. The deal was done on April 30, and Jefferson was shocked that the U.S. had just doubled in size overnight despite a push-back from others.
There's way more to the story as they divided out the land and monies, but it gets a bit confusing. Happy Birthday, Louisiana. You're the result of two guys going in for a snack and leaving with the entire restaurant, hoping to ask for forgiveness later on.