The History of New Orleans

Jackson Square

The history of New Orleans is a fascinating topic for local residents, history buffs and tourists alike. It is the largest city in Louisiana, located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, with close to half a million people living there.

History of New Orleans
Andrew Jackson

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) Newspaper Archive

Jean Baptiste LeMoyne founded New Orleans in 1718. He named the city for the regent of France, Philippe II, Nouvelle- Orleans. Up until 1763 New Orleans was a French Colony when it was transferred over to the Spanish. In 1800, New Orleans bounced back to France. Finally, in 1803, Napoleon I sold the land to the United States packaged up in the Louisiana Purchase. Due to its various international colonial holders, New Orleans had a more cosmopolitan culture and diverse population than other cities, especially in the South.

New Orleans was populated with French speaking refuges from the Haitian Revolution, the French and Indian War, including French and Spanish Creole peoples. Slaves were also smuggled into the area. The city’s position at the mouth of the Mississippi was a major transportation hub for both national and international trade at the time, before railroads and major road systems were built.

The History of New Orleans

No history of New Orleans would be complete without mention of the Battle of New Orleans. The Battle of New Orleans was fought in January of 1815 and was the first major battle in the War of 1812.

Major General Andrew Jackson was commander of that battle. The British Army was attempting to take over the city and the other land areas included in the Louisiana Purchase. In December of 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the war. However, the fighting did not end until February 1815, when news of the treaty finally reached the army. Had the Battle of New Orleans not been won by the United States, a considerable amount of American land would have been ceded to the British. In the history of New Orleans, this battle is recognized as a great land victory in the history of our country.

Louisiana seceded from the Union in 1861. During the Civil War New Orleans was taken over by the Union Army fairly soon in the war. Union ships under Admiral David Farragut seized the ports of New Orleans on April 25, 1862. The capture of New Orleans was easily won by the Union, blocking the South’s major source of income and supplies through the ports of New Orleans. This was the main reason for the lack of destruction of the city that many other Southern cities had to bear, such as Atlanta. With New Orleans being the largest Confederate city, its capture was a turning point in the war.

Andrew Jackson

The war brought the career of Andrew Jackson to light, who would later become who would later become the seventh President of the United States. A memorial equestrian statue of Jackson is located in Place d’ Armes (Spanish:Plaza de Armas) also know as Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It is a National Historic Landmark declared in 1960. An equestrian statue built in memory of Jackson is located at the Place d’ Armes , also known as Jackson Square, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It is a National Historic Landmark, declared so in 1960.

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