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Louisiana History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Louisiana
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Louisiana history.
Native Americans settle what is now Louisiana at least as long as 6,000 years ago. Tribes of the Muskhogean language occupy the east-central and southeastern region. Tunican tribes live along the coast and in the northeast, and tribes of the Caddoan group inhabit the north and northwest.
At the time of European arrival in the 16th century, there are more than 10,000 Native Americans in Louisiana. By about 1700, 15,000 from six different linguistic groups are likely present
Louisiana sits above the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River, bordered by Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east and Texas to the west. Originally colonized by the French during the 18th century, it became U.S. territory as part of the historic Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and was admitted to the union in 1812.
16th Century Louisiana History Timeline
1519 - Alvarez de Pindea discovers mouth of the Mississippi
1541 - Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi River
1543 - July 18 - De Soto expedition survivors - under the command of Luis de Moscoso - become the first group of white men to travel down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.
17th Century Louisiana History Timeline
1673 - Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet reach the Mississippi River - and later verify that it flows into the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Pacific Ocean.
1682 - Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, erects a cross at the mouth of the Mississippi River after descending the river from the Great Lakes and claims the territory for Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana is named.
1699 - March - Pierre Le Moyne Iberville becomes the first European to find the Mississippi River from the open sea.
18th Century Louisiana History Timeline
1700 - Fort Maurepas established on Bay of Biloxi. Fort de La Boulaye established near Pointe á la Hache or Phoenix.
1701 - August 22 - Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Bienville succeeds Ensign de Sauvolle (Sauvolle's first name is unknown) as commandant of Louisiana.
1712 - September 17 - Antoine Crozat receives royal charter giving exclusive trading rights to Louisiana.
1714 - Louis Juchereau de St. Denis founds Fort St. Jean Baptiste on the Red River at site of present-day Natchitoches - the first permanent settlement in Louisiana.
1716 - Fort Rosalie established at present-day Natchez.
1719 - The first large importation of black slaves. German families arrive in Louisiana.
1722 - September - A hurricane destroys much of New Orleans.
1723 - New Orleans becomes the capital of Louisiana, superseding Biloxi
1724 - March - "Black Code" (restriction on former black slaves' freedom of movement - required them to labor - punishment of "insubordinate behavior" - etc.) is declared in effect.
1727 - August 6 - Ursuline nuns arrive in New Orleans and begin a school for girls.
1729 - November - Natchez Indians massacre 250 people at Fort Rosalie (Natchez).
1730-31 - Governor Étienne de Périer leads successful battle against the Natchez Indians near Sicily Island.
1731 - November - Company of the Indies resigns its monopoly. Louisiana returns to royal administration.
1732 - King Louis XV names Bienville governor of Louisiana.
1735 - Jean Louis, a sailor, leaves his savings to establish the first charity hospital in New Orleans
1736 - June - (Forerunner of) Charity Hospital founded.
1743 - May - Bienville leaves Louisiana for the last time.
1751 - Sugar cane is first introduced into Louisiana
1762 - November 3 - By the Treaty of Fontainebleau - France cedes to Spain all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi.
1763 - Treaty of Paris ends Seven Years' War and confirms transfer of Louisiana to Spain. Florida Parishes ceded to England with Baton Rouge becoming New Richmond
1764 - First four Acadian families arrive in Louisiana from New York
1766 - March 5 - Antonio de Ulloa becomes the first Spanish governor of Louisiana; arrives in New Orleans but does not take possession.
1768 - October 28 - Superior Council orders Ulloa out of Louisiana.
1769 - August 17 - Alejandro O'Reilly arrives in New Orleans to take possession of Louisiana for Spain.
1771 - Spanish government sets up public (state) schools.
1777 - Governor Bernardo de Gálvez begins to lend Louisiana aid in the American Revolutionary struggle against England.
1788 - March 21 - Much of New Orleans destroyed by fire.
1793 - April 3 - Pope Pius VI establishes the first Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas.
1796 - Opera is first performed in the United States at New Orleans
19th Century Louisiana History Timeline
1800 - October 1 - Treaty of San Ildefonso provides for Spanish cession of Louisiana to France.
1804 - Louisiana is divided into the Territory of New Orleans (south of 33 degrees latitude) and the District of Louisiana (north of 33 degrees latitude). W.C. C. Claiborne is appointed governor of the Territory of Orleans.
1808 - First public school is established in Pointe Coupee Parish
1815 - Battle of New Orleans is won by General Andrew Jackson
1819 - February 22 - In the Adams-Onís Treaty - Spain acknowledges the Sabine River as Louisiana's western boundary.
1823 - First natural gas field is discovered in Louisiana, at a depth of 400 feet
1832 - An epidemic of yellow fever and cholera kills more than 5,000 people in New Orleans.
1833 - April 11 - Captain Henry Miller Shreve begins clearing the Red River for navigation.
1838 - First Mardi Gras parade is held in New Orleans
1840 - Antoine's in New Orleans, the state's oldest continuously operating restaurant, is established
1849 - Baton Rouge becomes capital of Louisiana
1850 - John McDonogh bequeaths more than $750,000 to establish public schools in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
1853 - Louisiana's worst yellow fever epidemic kills more than 11,000 people in New Orleans alone.
1856 - August 11 - A hurricane kills more than 200 people vacationing at Isle Derniere (Last Island).
1859 - New Orleanian Paul Morphy defeats the best chess players of Europe to become the unofficial world champion.
1860 - John Breckinridge defeats John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas for Louisiana's popular vote in the crucial election of 1860.
1861 - January 26 - Louisiana's Secession Convention overwhelmingly votes for secession.
1863 - May-July - Siege of Port Hudson ends in Federal capture of the fort.
1865 - June 2 - Edmund Kirby-Smith signs a surrender to Federal forces.
1866 - July 30 - New Orleans: Attack on rump constitutional convention defended by black Metropolitan police degenerated from battle into race riot resulting in the deaths of 38 persons and the wounding of 146.
1869 - First sulphur is produced in United States
1870 - June 30-July 2 - Robert E. Lee beats the Natchez in the most famous steamboat race in history.
1873 - April - Colfax Riot: A pitched battle between whites and blacks that ended in a massacre that killed 25 blacks. In all - at least 63 and quite possibly more than 100 African-American men died violently during the riot.
1878 - Yellow fever epidemic kills more than 5,000 people in Louisiana.
1879 - Captain James B. Eads completes the jetty system at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
1884-1885 - The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition held in New Orleans.
1891 - March 14 - A New Orleans mob lynches 11 of 19 Italians charged in the murder of Police Chief David C. Hennessy.
1892 - James J. Corbett knocks out John I. Sullivan to become the new world heavyweight boxing champion.
1893 - October 1 - A hurricane kills over 2,000 people in southern Louisiana and Mississippi.
1894 - March 12 - Edward Douglass White appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
1898 - May 12 - New constitution includes the "Grandfather Clause" to permit illiterate whites to vote; a poll tax and literacy test included to disqualify black voters.
1899 - February 13 - Record lowest temperature ever recorded for Louisiana: - 16° F. at Minden.
20th Century Louisiana History Timeline
1901 - The first oil is discovered about six miles from Jennings
1909 - Commercial mining of sulphur begun near Sulphur - Louisiana. Louisiana's last yellow fever epidemic occurs.
1910 - December 9 - Edward Douglass White appointed Chief Justice of the United States.
1916 - A large natural gas field discovered near Monroe.
1921 - June 15 - Louisiana adopts a new constitution.
1927 - April-May - The worst flood in United States history devastates 1,300,000 acres of land and leaves 300,000 people homeless.
1932 - New capitol is completed in Baton Rouge
1934 - May 23 - Law enforcement officers and posse members gun down outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow beside the Jamestown-Sailes Highway - about eight miles from Gibsland.
1936 - August 10 - Record highest temperature ever recorded for Louisiana: 114° F. at Plain Dealing.
1939 - Political scandals force resignation of Governor Richard W. Leche.
1940 - Sam Jones and reform forces hand the Long machine its first political defeat in over a decade.
1947 - Kerr-McGee Corporation, with offshore operations based in Morgan City, drills the first commercial producing oil well out of sight of land
1948 - Long machine regains control when Earl Long defeats Sam Jones in gubernatorial election.
1957 - June 27 - Hurricane Audrey kills hundreds of people in Cameron Parish.
1959 - May-June - Governor Earl K. Long briefly confined to mental asylums in Texas and Louisiana.
1960 - November - Two public schools in Orleans Parish desegregated.
1963 - Tulane University accepts five black students, the first in its history
1965 - September 9-10 - Hurricane Betsy devastates southern Louisiana.
1975 - The Super Dome in New Orleans is completed, with a final cost of $163,313,315 for building and grounds
1977 - Ernest Morial is elected mayor of New Orleans, becoming the city's first black mayor
1986 - June - Governor Edwards acquitted of all charges.
1988 - August 15-18 - Republican National Convention meets in New Orleans.
1990 - October - Voters approve state lottery.
1991 - October - Edwards wins fourth term in landslide win over Duke. Edward's campaign slogan was "Vote for the Crook. At Least He's Honest!"
1992 - June - Legislature authorizes riverboat and land-based casino gambling.
1993 - July - Louisiana leads all 50 states in violent crime rate.
1994 - April - Marc Morial (son of former Mayor Dutch Morial) elected Mayor of New Orleans.
1995 - November - Mike Foster defeats Cleo Fields in governor's election.
1996 - April Legislature passes concealed weapons and tort reform laws.
21st Century Louisiana History Timeline
2011 - BP sued Transocean, the owner of the oil rig that exploded in Gulf in 2010, for $40 billion in damages
2012 - BP reached $7.8 billion settlement with largest group of plaintiffs over 2010 oil rig spill