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Louisiana History
very condensed

On this page

In seeking ancestors in Louisiana, it is important to understand the history of the area. This a very condensed version to help others who are researching in the state of my birth.

1519
Discovery of the mouth of the MS River by Alvarez de Pindea
1541-42
Discovery of the MS river by Hernando de Soto
1682
Named for French King, Louis IV by De La Salle
1699
French colonization by Bienville & Iberville
Baton Rouge named (from Indian Red Stick)
1714
First permanent settlement Fort St. Jean Baptiste
in Natchitoches by Louis Jucherear de St. Denis
1717
Law concession brings European settlers to area
1718
New Orleans established by Bienville
St. Louis Cathedral is built oldest in US
1723
New Orleans becomes capital of LA, replacing Biloxi
1731
LA became French Crown colony and the German Coast is settled
1760
Acadians begin arriving
1762
France gives territory to Spain
1763
Florida Parishes ceded to England
1779
Spanish take over Baton Rouge
1800
Spain gives territory to France
1803
Louisiana purchase
Area divided into Territory of Orleans (abt. Current state)
and Territory of LA (rest of the purchase)
1804-5
State is divided into counties
1808
First public school is opened in Pointe Coupee Parish
1810
Florida Parishes rebel against Spanish rule
1812
Statehood (18th); War of 1812 Includes Florida Parishes
1815
Andrew Jackson defeats England at the Battle of New Orleans
1838
1st Mardi Gras parade held in New Orleans
1849
Baton Rouge becomes capitol of the state
1861
Secession from the Union
1868
Readmitted to the Union
1877
Carpetbag rule ends

Oldest church parishes in Louisiana:
St. Jean Baptiste, Natchitoches, 1714
St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, 1720
La Balize, at the mouth of the river, 1722
St. Charles des Allemands, Destrehan, 1723
St. Francis, Pointe Coupee, 1728





In 1807 the area was again divided. I can't determine whether they were called counties or parishes, but in 1814, the new state legislator decided that instead of counties, LA would have parishes.

Information from "Louisiana Almanac" 2002-2003 Edition, parish GenWeb sites and various historical references.
Acadia Parish was created in 1886 from St. Landry Parish.
Allen Parish was created in 1912 from Calcasieu Parish
Ascension Parish , an original parish was created in 1807 from the Acadia Coast County. (Donaldsonville, Gonzales)
Assumption Parish was created in 1807 from Lafourche County and named for Assumption Church of Plattenville.
Avoyelles Parish was created in 1807 from Point Coupee County.
Baton Rouge Parish was created in 1792 in the West Floridas area. The land was divided into E. & W. Baton Rouge Parishes in 1810.
Beauregard Parish was created in 1912 from Calcasieu Parish
Bienville Parish was created in 1848 from Claiborne Parish, originally part of Natchitoches County.
Bossier Parish was created in 1843 from Claiborne Parish. (Bossier City)
Caddo Parish was created in 1838 from Natchitoches Parish. (Shreveport)
Calcasieu Parish was created in 1840 from St. Landry Parish. (Lake Charles)
Caldwell Parish was created in 1838 from parts of Catahoula & Ouchita Parishes
Cameron Parish was created in 1870 from parts of Calcasieu & Vermillion Parishes.
Catahoula Parish was created in 1808 from Ouchita County.
Claiborne Parish was created in 1828 from Natchitoches Parish.
Concordia Parish was created in 1803 from Concordia County, which contained the colonial post of Fort Rosalie.
DeSoto Parish was created in 1843 from parts of Natchitoches & Caddo Parishes.
E. Carroll Parish was created from Carroll Parish when it was split in 1877. Carroll was created in 1832 from Ouchita Parish.
E. Feliciana Parish was created in 1824. Originally from the Spanish West Floridas
Evangeline Parish was created in 1910 from St. Landry Parish, part of Attackapas County. (Ville Platte)
Franklin Parish was created in 1843 from parts of Ouchita, Catahoula & Madison Parishes
Grant Parish was created in 1869 from parts of Rapides & Winn Parishes
Iberia Parish was created in 1868, part of Attackapas County. (New Iberia)
Iberville Parish was created in 1807 from Iberville County and is home to St. Gabriel Catholic Church.
Jackson Parish was created in 1845 from parts of Natchitoches & Ouchita Parishes
Jefferson Parish was created in 1825 from Orleans Parish. (Metairie, Gretna, Kenner)
Jefferson Davis Parish was created in 1912 from Calcasieu Parish. (Jennings)
Lafayette Parish was created in 1823 from St. Landry Parish
Lafourche Parish was created in 1807 from Lafourche County. (Thibodaux)
LaSalle Parish was created in 1910 from Catahoula Parish
Lincoln Parish was created in 1872 from parts of Jackson, Claiborne, Bienville & Union Parishes. (Ruston)
Livingston Parish was created in 1832 from St. Helena Parish. (Denham Springs)
Madison Parish was created in 1838 from parts of Concordia & Ouchita (in 1811, area was Warren County, which was abolished)
Morehouse Parish was created in 1844 from parts of Ouchita & Catahoula. (Bastrop)
Natchitoches Parish was created in 1807 from Natchitoches County which saw the first Europeans settler in 1714.
Orleans Parish was created in 1805 from Orleans County which is the site of St. Louis Cathedral built in 1718.
Ouchita Parish was created in 1807 from Ouchita County. (Monroe)
Plaquemines was created in 1807 from Orleans County.
Point Coupee Parish was created in 1807 from Pointe Coupee County.
Rapides Parish was created in 1807 from Rapides County, the site of a Spanish mission in 1711. (Alexandria/Pineville)
Red River Parish was created in 1871 from parts of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto & Natchitoches.
Richland Parish was created in 1868 from Carroll, Franklin, Morehouse & Ouchita.
Sabine Parish was created in 1843 from Natchitoches Parish.
St. Bernard Parish was created in 1807 from Orleans County and was once called Terre aux Boeufs for the wild oxen in the area. (Chalmette)
St. Charles Parish was created in 1807 from German Coast County, site of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
St. Helena Parish was created in 1811 from the West Floridas.
St. James Parish was created in 1807 from Acadia Coast County, site of St. Michael's Catholic Church.
St. John the Baptist Parish was created in 1807 from German Coast County, site of St. John Baptiste Catholic Church on one side of the river and St. Peter's Catholic Church on the other. (LaPlace)
St. Landry Parish was created in 1805 from Attackapas County. (Opelousas, Eunice)
St. Martin Parish was created in 1807 from Attackapas County. (St. Martinville)
St. Mary Parish was created in 1811 from St. Martin Parish. (Morgan City, Franklin)
St. Tammany Parish was created in 1810 from the West Floridas. (Slidell, Covington)
Tangipahoa Parish was created in 1869 from parts of Livingston, St. Helena, Washington and St. Tammany Parishes. (Hammond, Ponchatoula)
Tensas Parish was created in 1861 from parts of Madison & Concordia Parishes.
Terrebonne Parish was created in 1822 from Lafourche Parish. (Houma)
Union Parish was created in 1839 from Ouchita Parish.
Vermillion Parish was created in 1844 from Lafayette Parish. (Abbeville)
Vernon Parish was created in 1871 from parts of Natchitoches, Sabine & Rapides Parishes. (Leesville)
Washington Parish was created in 1819 from St. Tammany.
Webster was created in 1871 from parts of Bienville, Bossier & Claiborne Parishes. (Minden)
W. Baton Rouge Parish was created in 1807 from part of the Florida Parishes.
W. Carroll Parish was created in 1877 (see E. Carroll)
W. Feliciana Parish was created in 1824 (see E. Feliciana)
Winn Parish was created in 1852 from parts of Catahoula, Natchitoches & Rapides Parishes. (Winnfield)

Current Louisiana Parish Map





The Acadian Coast of St. James and Ascension Parishes



If anyone has a map of the German Coast (St. John and St. Charles) showing towns and churches, would love to add to this page!

Some Great Sites to Visit

Acadian Genealogy Homepage
Louisiana History Teachers (great material)
Brief History of Louisiana from the Secretary of State's Office
The Cabildo
Vive La Cajun!
Bayou Genealogy
Jacques Vicknair's list of south Louisiana Churches
History of the Archiocese of New Orleans
Fort St. Jean Baptiste, Natchitoches
St. Charles Borromeo Church, Destrehan
Louisiana Hurricane History
Back to German Coast Families

Email: mpearce@charter.net