Louisiana Purchase

The territory of Louisiana extended from the Canadian border in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south and from Rocky Mountains in the west to Mississippi river in the east. It included the present-day US state of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska and other portions, like the northern portion of Texas, the portion of Minnesota which is to the west of the river Mississippi etc.

g536The United States of America at that time had Thomas Jefferson as president and it was not as big as it is today. The Louisiana territory from early 17th century to mid 18th century remained in the hands of Europe. The French had established scattered settlements all across Louisiana. Starting from 17th century, the French power in this territory kept increasing along with their settlements. Then came the seven years war, at the end of which, France had to cede their Louisiana territory to Spain. But Spain was not a powerful European country and therefore it hardly performed any development in Louisiana. In the year 1801, Spain signed a secret treaty (Third Treaty of San Ildefonso) with France and returned Louisiana to France.

louisianapurchase

All these proceedings in the Louisiana territory were becoming problematic for the Americans as they had to move from one territory to another but in the middle came the Louisiana territory. For movement, there was high dependence over the free access of the Mississippi river.  At that time, when France took back Louisiana from the Spanish, it was under the control of Napoleon Bonaparte who has been quite a strong leader. The US officials used to fear him that he would start dominating that area which would have become more difficult for the Americans.

It happened in January 1803 that the then president of the United States sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston to Paris to negotiate the New Orleans purchase deal. Little had they expected what was coming in the future. The French asked the dealers if they wished to purchase the whole Louisiana territory! This was quite surprising for them and it was a really huge decision to take. It is believed that the French were facing several issues like, financial problems, war with Great Britain etc which made them sell such a huge chunk of land.

The U.S. agreed to the deal and negotiations were made. Finally, U.S. paid $11,250,000 USD and cancellation of debts worth $3,750,000 USD purchasing approximately 828,000,000 square kilometer territory from France. This was a great achievement for the President Thomas Jefferson as along with purchasing such a large piece of land, he bargained to as low as three cents per acre. It is the largest land transfer deal that the world has ever witnessed.

Image source: enchantedlearning.com, static-numista.com,www.history.com

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