The United States in 1804 split Louisiana into two parts: the District of Louisiana (renamed Territory of Louisiana in 1805), comprising land north of the 33rd parallel (the northern border of present-day Louisiana); and the Territory of Orleans, comprising land to the south. William C. C. Claiborne became governor of the Territory of Orleans. He faced the challenge of transplanting American democracy to a territory that had little experience with self-rule. In 1809 Claiborne also had to deal with a second wave of Saint-Domingue refugees. Ten thousand refugees arrived at New Orleans in a six-month period, doubling its population. This influx helped preserve for decades—and, to some extent, to the present day—the French character of New Orleans.
In 1810 American settlers in West Florida proclaimed their independence from Spain and requested annexation by the United States. Claiborne assumed control over that region as far east as the Pearl River.
On April 30, 1812, the Territory of Orleans entered the federal Union as the 18th state, the state of Louisiana. It included the annexed part of West Florida. Claiborne became the first state governor, and New Orleans continued as the capital. Less than two months later the War of 1812 erupted between the United States and Britain. In 1814, near the end of the war, the British launched a campaign to capture strategic points along the lower Mississippi and the Gulf Coast. On January 8, 1815, a large British force stormed heavily defended New Orleans, but was thrown back by forces commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson. The decisive United States victory, though won after the signing of the peace treaty, preserved the boundaries of the young republic. Historical evidence indicates that Britain would not have ratified the treaty if it had won at New Orleans. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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