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Thursday, September 29, 2005

American History week- What was the Louisiana purchase?

Nearly half of the United States was bought from France in 1803 for $3 per square mile. This large chunk of land ran right down the middle of the country, previously separating the east and west coasts. You can see just how much territory was bought in the Louisana purchase when you look at this map. In France Napoleon was keen to sell the land because it would make America a stronger force against the British. The money also gave him more power to make war in Europe.

The presence of the French colony is still felt in many ways. About 5% of the people in the state of Louisiana speak French and many place names are also French. Just think of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Citizens with a French heritage are known as Creoles and Cajuns. The ancestors of the Creoles typically came from France and the French colonies in the West Indies. The Cajuns are descended from the Acadians, French speakers who were expelled from Canada in the mid eighteenth century.

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