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Louisiana Territory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Territory of Louisiana
Organized incorporated territory of the United States
United States 1805-07-1809.png

Map of the Territory of Louisiana
CapitalSt. Louis
 • TypeOrganized incorporated territory
• 1805–1807
James Wilkinson
• 1807–1809
Meriwether Lewis
• 1810–1812
Benjamin Howard
• Established
July 4 1805
June 4 1812
Preceded by
Succeeded by
District of Louisiana
Missouri Territory

The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805, until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed the Missouri Territory. The territory was formed out of the District of Louisiana, which consisted of the portion of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 33rd parallel (which is now the ArkansasLouisiana state line).


Historical population
Source: 1810 (includes only Missouri and Arkansas)[1]

The Eighth Congress of the United States on March 26, 1804, passed legislation entitled "An act erecting Louisiana into two territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof,"[2] which established the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana as organized incorporated U.S. territories. With regard to the District of Louisiana, this organic act, which went into effect on October 1, 1804, detailed the authority of the governor and judges of the Indiana Territory to provide temporary civil jurisdiction over the expansive region.


On March 3, 1805, Congress passed legislation changing the District of Louisiana into the Louisiana Territory, effective July 4, 1805.[3]


The Louisiana Territory included all of land acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase north of the 33rd parallel. The eastern boundary of the purchase, the Mississippi River, functioned as the territory's eastern limit. Its northern and western boundaries, however, were indefinite, and remained so throughout its existence. The northern boundary with the British territory of Rupert's Land was established by the Treaty of 1818, and the western boundary with the Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain was defined by the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819.


The Louisiana Territory had five subdivisions: St. Louis District, St. Charles District, Ste. Genevieve District, Cape Girardeau District, and New Madrid District. In 1806, the territorial legislature created the District of Arkansas from lands ceded by the Osage Nation.[citation needed]


The territorial capital was St. Louis.

On 11 March 1805, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Gen. James Wilkinson as the first governor of the Territory of Louisiana.[4] Wilkinson concurrently held the position of Senior Officer of the United States Army. Meriwether Lewis (1807–1809) served as the 2nd and William Clark (1813–1820) served as the 4th, and final, territorial governor.[citation needed]


On June 4, 1812, the Twelfth U.S. Congress enacted legislation which renamed Louisiana Territory as Missouri Territory, in order to avoid confusion with the recently admitted State of Louisiana.[5]

Current States

The area then occupied by the Louisiana Territory now covers several states, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canada border.

Louisiana Territory versus current US States.png

See also


  1. ^ Forstall, Richard L. (ed.). Population of the States and Counties of the United States: 1790–1990 (PDF) (Report). United States Census Bureau. p. 4. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "An act erecting Louisiana into two territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof". United States Statutes at Large. Eighth Congress, Session I, Chapter 38, March 26, 1804, pg. 283–289. From Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875. (accessed December 14, 2008)
  3. ^ "An Act further providing for the government of the district of Louisiana". United States Statutes at Large. Eighth Congress, Session II, Chapter 31, March 3, 1805, pg. 331–332. From Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875. (accessed December 14, 2008)
  4. ^ "Commission of James Wilkinson as Governor". Carter, Clarence Edwin, compiler and editor. Territorial Papers of the United States. Vol. XIII (The Territory of Louisiana-Missouri, 1803–1806), pp. 98-99.
  5. ^ "An Act providing for the government of the territory of Missouri". United States Statutes at Large. Twelfth Congress, Session I, Chapter 95, June 4, 1812, pg. 742–747. From Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875. (accessed December 14, 2008)

External links

This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 12:55
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