Louisiana, state in the southern United States, on the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River.
Louisiana is richly endowed with such nonrenewable minerals as oil, natural gas, sulfur, and salt. In addition to mining, the state has flourishing agricultural, lumbering, and fishing industries. These activities provide the basis for much of the manufacturing in Louisiana. Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. The state’s three principal cities are New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport. A succession of Native American cultures occupied the area of Louisiana beginning as long as 12,000 years ago. Many were local societies sustained by hunting and gathering or subsistence agriculture, but others, such as the Poverty Point Culture centered along Bayou Macon in northeastern Louisiana, had regional influence and trading networks.
The French were the original European colonizers of Louisiana, beginning in the early 18th century. After a period of Spanish control it reverted to France. During this colonial period other European and African cultures were introduced into the area. Most of Louisiana was bought by the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase; the rest came as a result of the West Florida Rebellion of 1810. Louisiana entered the Union on April 30, 1812, as the 18th state. Initially, in the colonial period, the locality was known as Louisiane. This name was given by the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who journeyed down the Mississippi River in 1682 and claimed a vast area for France, naming it for the French king, Louis XIV. The Spanish version of the name was Luisiana. From these forms evolved the present name of Louisiana. The most popular nickname for Louisiana is the Pelican State, after the native coastal bird. Other nicknames are the Creole State, after the descendants of early French and Spanish settlers, and the Bayou State, for the many lush, slow-moving waterways found in the state. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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