Louisiana (abbr.: LA), state of the United States of America, on the Gulf of Mexico, 125,675 km2, with 4.2 million inhabitants; Capital: Baton Rouge.
Louisiana is part of the coastal plain along the Gulf of Mexico and of the Mississippi River Basin. About 50% of the area is occupied by the coastal swamps and the lowlands along the rivers. There are many lakes: saline inlets along the coast, such as Lake Pontchartrain (north of New Orleans), Lake Maurepas and Lake Sabine and a number of lakes in the vicinity of the Red River (Grass, Black, Bistineau, Catahoula and Cannisia Lake). The waterways have a total length of almost 8000 km; the Pearl River is the only major river that is not navigable. The state is characterized by an even subtropical climate. Most rain falls in the summer. On average, the coast is hit by hurricanes once every 4 to 5 years.
The average population density is 31 inhabitants. per km2. Approximately 68% of the population lives in urban areas. The descendants of the French and Spanish settlers are called Creoles; the group has mostly managed to preserve its own culture and traditions. It is to them that the state owes the nickname Creole State. French is still widely spoken in South Louisiana. The largest cities are New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport. See top cities in Louisiana.
The value of Louisiana’s mineral production, although there are no metallic minerals, is the second highest in the United States after Texas. Petroleum production is about 15% of the national production, natural gas about 28%, both, as well as sulphur, good for second place nationally. Furthermore, salt, sand and various types of stone are produced. By far the most important industry is petrochemicals; in addition to the chemical industry, wood processing and production of foodstuffs and paper. The main port is New Orleans, one of the largest ports in the country. The other economic activities include forestry, arable farming (plantation farming; sweet potatoes, sugar cane, rice, soybeans, cotton, grain), cattle, poultry and pig farming, fishing (menhaden, a herring species that is used for manure preparation, shrimp, oysters, lobsters); Louisiana is a major supplier of fur (especially bisam).
Louisiana’s top tourist attraction is the Vieux Carré in New Orleans. Furthermore, Cajun Country, with the city of Lafayette as its center, and old plantations in the vicinity of Baton Rouge.
Although Spaniards were the first to invade the area, the French first started a permanent settlement. Their interest was aroused by the travels of Father Marquette and Louis Joliet (1673) and La Salle (1682) across the Mississippi. In 1699 the brothers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founded a settlement, the latter of which became governor in 1701. In 1712, Louis XIV gave the area to Antoine Crozat, a wealthy merchant, who appointed Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (1713–1716) governor. In 1717, Louisiana passed into the hands of John Law’s infamous Company of the West, and De Bienville once again became governor of the country. He resigned in 1724, when the company suffered financial losses. But in 1733, when the area was retaken to the Crown,
In 1763 France ceded the area to Spain, against the wishes of the inhabitants, who started an uprising in 1768, which was brutally suppressed. In 1800 Spain sold the country back to France by the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso, but already in 1803 Napoleon ceded Louisiana with the Louisiana territory extending far west to the United States. On 30 Apr. In 1812 Louisiana was admitted to the Union as the 18th state. Louisiana always kept a French stamp. It belonged to the Confederate States in the American Civil War and in 1862 Admiral Farragut captured the city of New Orleans from the sea. Louisiana was among the states that suffered the longest under northern occupation during the Reconstruction; it was not until 1877 that the northern troops withdrew. As in the whole of the Deep South, the Democratic party has maintained an absolute majority ever since. A grand program of public works was initiated in 1928 by Governor Huey P. Long. Strong industrialization led to major political changes in favor of the Republicans, who have gained ground in recent decades.