New Orleans
founded by Sieur de Bienville


Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez Indians lived in what is now the New Orleans area before Europeans arrived. In 1682, the French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, sailed down the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes region. He claimed the entire Mississippi Valley for France.

Sieur de Bienville founded New Orleans in 1718. In 1722, he made it the capital of the French colony of Louisiana, which covered the central third of the present-day United States.

In 1762, King Louis XV of France gave Louisiana to his cousin, King Charles III of Spain. The French Orleanians disliked the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, Antonio de Ulloa, and drove him from the city in 1768. But in 1769, soldiers arrived from Spain and restored Spanish rule in New Orleans.

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