State Flags of Louisiana



Exploration of a New World

New World  1519, the Spanish explorer Alonso Alverez de Pineda led an expedition along the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico. He discovered the mouth of a great river, in all likelihood, the mighty Mississippi.


The French Take Possession

French Possesion  The first explorer to travel down the Mississippi River to its mouth was Frenchman Sieur de LaSalle. In 1682, he took possession of "the country known as Louisiana," naming it in honor of his king, Louis XIV.  For a century and a half, "Louisiana" referred to a vast area that makes up several of our present-day states.


Spanish Possession

Spanish Possesion  In a secret treaty in 1762, France ceded its territory west of the Mississippi to Spain. Colonist in Louisiana didn't learn of the transfer for almost two years!


Enter the British

British  In 1763, great Britain acquired parts of Louisiana east of the Mississippi from France and Spain in the Peace of Paris that ended the French and Indian War.


Return to the French

French Repossesion  The cost of maintaining distant colonies and worries about restless Americans who wanted to control the land led Spain to return the Louisiana territory west of the Mississippi to France in another secret treaty in 1800.


The Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase  On April 30, 1803, the United States purchased the vast Louisiana territory from Napoleon for $15 million. That purchase more than doubled the size of the United States.


An Independent Territory

Independent Territory  In 1810 colonists took control of the area east of the Mississippi River.  It was part of Spain's West Florida Territory. That same year this republic joined the United States as part of the Louisiana Territory. The area is still referred to as the Florida Parishes (Louisiana is divided into parishes instead of counties.) The flag is known as the "Bonnie Blue."


Louisiana Becomes a State

Becomes a State  On April 30, 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state to join the Union.  William Charles Cole Claiborne was elected its first governor.


The Civil War

Civil War   The longest siege in American military history took place in 1863, when Confederate troops at Port Hudson held out for 48 days. Their surrender, five days after the fall of Vicksburg, marked the end of Confederate control of the Mississippi River.


Union, Justice and Confidence

Present Day Flag      In 1912, the Louisiana State Legislature officially adopted the present state flag. It depicts the state bird, the Eastern Brown Pelican and the state motto: Union, Justice and Confidence.