The U.S. State of Louisiana was admitted as the 18th state of the union on April 30th, 1812. Like much of North America and specifically the Midwestern and southern United States, the land comprising modern day Louisiana was inhabited by several different indigenous civilizations and Native American tribes for thousands of years. However, the ancient history of Louisiana is much more rich. One of the earliest mound complexes in North America, dating back to 3500 BC was discovered in Louisiana. This complex also serves as the first complex structure constructed in the Americas. In addition, the Poverty Point UNESCO site, which dates back to 1650 and 700 BC, is the largest archaic structure in Louisiana.
Although the Spanish were the first Europeans to discover Louisiana in the mid-1500’s, the French laid claim to Louisiana and more territories in the 17th century. From there it remained under French control until they lost the French and Indian War when the territory of Louisiana became a Spanish Colony. It wasn’t until 1800 that Louisiana became under French control again when Napoleon Bonaparte reacquired the land from Spain. Three short years later, the United States purchased the Louisiana territory from Napoleon in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. After it’s admission to statehood, Louisiana began to expand its agriculture industry, becoming a major producer of sugar. By the 1840’s the city of New Orleans grew to become the third largest city and among the wealthiest in the country.
Currently, Louisiana ranks 31st out of the fifty states in terms of size and 25th in terms of population. An estimation conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2015 set the population of Louisiana at 4,670,724. The city of New Orleans and the capital city of Baton Rouge are currently the most populated cities in the state.
Due to its extensive ancient history, its time as both a French territory and a Spanish colony, and heavy immigration, Louisiana has cultivated an extremely diverse cultural background and one that is not seen in any of the other 49 states. Louisiana maintains several distinct cultures that it has developed over the centuries such as, the Louisiana Creole culture, the African culture, the Acadian culture, and the Isleńo culture. Each of these distinctly different cultures come together in the state of Louisiana to create some of the most exciting cuisine, customs, and traditions in the United States of America.
The City of New Orleans is one of the most celebrated cities in the entire nation. Currently, the New Orleans tourist business is a multi-billion dollar industry. From convention centers to hotels and entertainment, the city goes to great lengths to remain a marketable destination for visitors from the United States and from all over the world. The famous Carnival or Mardi Gras festival is held every year in New Orleans and is considered a one of a kind experience. In addition, New Orleans hosts the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Voodoo Festival, the Southern Decadence Festival, and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. Not to mention, the city is home to a world-renowned cuisine. Blending cooking styles from Creole, French, Spanish, Cuban, and Cajun, New Orleans has made its local restaurants destinations in their own respect.