When you look at the map of the USA you see that this country stretches1 from the Atlantic in the east to the Pacific in the west. However, before April 30, 1803, the USA was much smaller.
In 1800 the map of North America looked much different. The young USA lay in the east. The land west of Mississippi belonged to Spain in the 1700’s and then to France. The American president Thomas Jefferson wanted to use the Mississippi River for commerce2. New Orleans was especially important for him. This city is an important port3 where the Mississippi flows4 into the Gulf of Mexico. The farmers wanted to send their crops5 down the River and then to the east. Jefferson started to negotiate6 with France. Napoleon Bonaparte I represented France. He didn’t know much about the Louisiana Territory and thought France didn’t need it. He also needed lots of money to fight with Great Britain. Jefferson wanted to buy just Louisiana and Florida but Napoleon offered the whole territory. Jefferson bought it for 15 million dollars!
What was the Louisiana Territory?
It covered all or parts of present day states of Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana – an area of 2,155,500 square7 kilometers west of the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. The purchase almost doubled8 the area of the USA. It was one of the biggest land purchases in the US history.
DID YOU KNOW?
Louisiana was named after the French king Louis XIV. The name also means “red stick” in French, because red cypress9 trees grow in some places in Louisiana.
Vocabulary: 1[streči:s] – sa rozprestiera, 2[kom¶:s] – obchod, 3[po:t] – prístav, 4[fl¶us] – vteká, 5[krops] – úroda, 6[nig¶ušieit] – rokovať, 7[skwe¶] – štvorcových, 8[dabld] – zdvojnásobila, 9[saipr¶s] – cyprusy