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The first explorers to come to Louisiana were Spanish. They came to the area in the 1500s, beginning in 1519 with Alvarez Pineda. In 1528, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca followed. Then, in 1541, the area was explored by Hernando de Soto. More than 100 years later, in 1682, the area was claimed for Louis XIV of France by Sieur de la Salle.
In 1731, Louisiana gained its status as a crown colony of France. However, the area was ceded to Spain two years later, when the French and Indian Wars came to a close. In 1764, the part of Louisiana that lies to the Mississippi River's east fell under the control of Great Britain. In 1800, France reclaimed control of the reason. However, Napoleon sold it to the United States three years later. The southern section of the region, which was called Orleans Territory at the time, was made a state in 1812, becoming Louisiana as we know it today. See also Louisiana History Page for more Details
The State of Louisiana was organized as territory on March 26, 1804 and entered the union as the 18th state on April 30, 1812. It has 64 Parishes. The capital is Baton Rouge and the official state website is http://louisiana.gov/.
The Louisiana 2010 population was 4,533,372 and the largest cities (2010) are New Orleans, 343,829; Baton Rouge, 229,493; Shreveport, 199,311; Metairie, 138,481; Lafayette, 120,632; Lake Charles, 71,993; Kenner, 66,702; Bossier City, 61,315; Monroe, 48,815; Alexandria, 47,723.
The State of Louisiana was named by the French explorer Sieur de La Salle in 1682 to honor King Louis XIV of France. The State Nickname is "Sportsman's Paradise" (formally Pelican State). The State Motto is "Union, Justice, and Confidence " .