Friday, February 7, 2014

Louisiana 101 : Atleast Some Tidbits I've Learned Thus Far



As anyone should do when prepping for a move, I'm researching my future homeland.  I love history, so this is not a tough task.  I knew nada starting out, but now I want to share some interesting things I've found.  I realize I'm not moving to Mars, but the difference in history from state to state can make you wonder if it's even the same country. 

The history of the region started with many different groups of Native Americans.  They were of course moved to Oklahoma (boo America).  I look forward to researching this topic in particular, but don't have enough room to discuss it here.  The topic deserves its own piece.

Louisiana was named after King Louis XIV of France.  This is the dude who built Versailles, not the dude married to Marie Antoinette, for those of you who have never made it across the pond and were wondering.  He ruled from 1638-1715 and was the typical monarch, who believed in divine right and was fond of  himself.  He was nicknamed the sun king.

The territory claimed by France was much larger than the state that exists today.  It actually included what are now 15 different states and two Canadian Provinces.  The territory had actually exchanged hands several times before Napoleon was nice enough to sell it to the United States in 1803, this was also known as the Louisiana Purchase.  Some of you may have heard of it.  Spain and England both had claims on it at different points between the 1600s and our acquisition. 

So I thought, sure Louisiana spoke French because of this colonization and some of it was, but there's more to it.  The area currently known as Nova Scotia used to be named Acadia in the 1600s.  Around 1754, France and England started to have some beef about the area's ownership.  The Brits decide that these "Acadians" needed to sign an oath to the King of England and stop being Catholic.  When they refused, their colony was burned and they were expelled from the area.  A book by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow entitled "Evangeline" describes this mass exile.  I found the use of the name Evangeline in the Princess and the Frog no longer a coincidence.  Kudos on the history Disney.

Now these "Acadians" roamed around for awhile because France didn't really want them back and their homes were all burned down.  Some ended up in Maine, anyone heard of Acadia National Park?  Some landed in other colonies in New England.  One boat landed in a Spanish colony in Louisiana.  Spain opened their arms to these folks, hoping for a closer alliance with France.  The Spanish were actually very influential in the formation of much of the character of Louisiana, but were neglectful landlords, which is why it ended up in French hands again in 1800.  Napoleon was very clever and acquired Louisiana without Spain even knowing about it.  Spain continued to administer Louisiana until 1803 when the US bought it for a cool 50 million francs, thus eliminating its debt to France.

So the Acadians ended up in the bayou and were very resourceful with hunting, trapping, and agriculture.  They had learned much from their time in Acadia.  The French pronunciation of Acadia ended up sounding like A-ca-jun, hence renaming the people of a certain area of Louisiana.  Everyone's heard of "Cajun" Country!  That's my new home!!  It's actually a triangular section of the state and covers most of the parishes in the south and peaking somewhere in the middle of the state. 

I hope I didn't bore you too much with my  history lesson.  This information was very interesting to me and I may be a little more in love with the idea of moving down south after learning it.  The culture is very rich and it's history is unique.  I can't wait to learn more.
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