The Louisiana Purchase: April 29, 1803

New Orleans, LA

At the start of the 19th century, France controlled Louisiana. Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to recreate a French empire there, plans upset by a slave uprising on the French-held island of Saint-Domingue, which French soldiers couldn’t quell. Frustrated, Bonaparte offered to sell Louisiana to the U.S. in 1803. Negotiations began on April 11, took three days, and involved the purchase of New Orleans and 827,000 square miles of the trans-Mississippi stretching north to Canada for $15 million. The Louisiana Purchase treaty was signed on May 2 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 20. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the U.S. and secured American control of New Orleans and the Mississippi River system.

Website

Return to full map