The Spanish Observe The French Settle
In the 1500’s, Hernando Cortez and his Spanish forces attained the reputation of being the first individuals from Europe to lay eyes on the land that was to become New Orleans. During the 1700’s, the next explorer to lay eyes on what was to become New Orleans, was Robert Cavelier de La Salle, a Frenchmen. The actual settlement where New Orleans was located was called “Louisiane”. The original people who first populated New Orleans, was a very dubious and undesirable bunch of people. France just wanted to populate the region, so they sent prisoners, slaves, and indentured servants over to just get the settlement started. The adminstration founders of the settlement tricked new settlers, who were not included in the groups just mentioned. They told “Potential European Settlers”, that there was a lot of gold in the surrounding land, and that it would make them all rich.
When the “New European Investors and Settlers” arrived, they saw criminals, slaves, broken shacks for homes, hostile Indians, disease, and to top it off everything was surrounded by a swamp. Needless to say, the new residents were mad enough to revolt. The leaders in France, did not want to loose this settlement, so they sent over eighty or so women for the settlers to take as wives. Still trying to be slick, the leaders got these women from jails and sent nuns with them. The nuns were to be overseers of the women, until they were married. So right from the beginning, the quality of inhabitants of the New Orleans settlement had much to be desired. After all the kinks were worked out of the settlement, it grew and developed into a French Colony. Later it became the capitol of the territory, and a prized possession. This development is almost identical to the way that Australia was founded. England emptied their prisons and sent them to Australia, to establish the Botany Bay Colony.
The Spanish Take Control From The French
In the year 1762 the Spanish take control of the New Orleans Colony. The Spanish obtained this colony as the result of a debt owed to the French. By this time, the settlers were used to living under the French and rejected Spanish rule. The Spanish were not having this, so they sent troops and warships to re establish control. After there was much intermingling between the French and Spanish, the descendants became known as Creoles. French descendants migrated down from Canada, to flee the British rule. These people were known as Arcadian and eventually Cajuns. They decided to make New Orleans there home, and settled along the bayou areas.
In 1803 France re controls & Sells To The United States
After a final transfer from the Spanish to the the French, the French Government decided to get rid of New Orleans. They made a deal with the United States, to take it in a deal called The Louisiana Purchase. The cost was less than five cents per acre. The total cost was $15 million (about $283 million in today’s dollars). When the US assumed control of Louisiana in 1803, the sugar industry was in full swing. The sugar industry created a market for slaves because the local residents didn’t want to work in the sugar cane fields. Innovation accelerated the need for more slaves, with the invention of the processes for granulated sugar, and the growth of the cotton industry.
New Orleans Growth Depends on The Slave Trade
New Orleans became the hub for the slave trade, with the auction blocks advertising slaves directly from Africa. The cities lively hood depended on slaves, even though the very act itself was evil. Being a port city, this even magnified the need for slaves. There was steady riverboat traffic, which mandated a steady labor supply. The north had a steady stream of new immigrants arriving in ships from Europe. This pretty much supplied the labor market for that area. The south was another story; The only people getting off of ships to work there were slaves from Africa.
Along with the influx of slaves coming in from Africa, came many of their traditions and superstitions. The main all consuming religion, that the majority of the West African slaves practiced was Voodoo. From the slaves in the Caribbean region, to the ones filtered through New Orleans, Voodoo took hold and had people of all races involved.
New Orleans Today
Today the city of New Orleans is a very unique, diversified, all inclusive, wide open city. It magnifies jazz, Marti Gras, conventions, vacationers, sports events, and out of the ordinary politics. The New Orleans of today, is a combination of southern tradition and modern culture. People flock to this city for all of the charm and festive atmosphere that it has to offer. New Orleans attracts people from around the world, and will continue to do so for many years to come.