Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Services Resources

Since 1541 when Hernando de Soto claimed the region for Spain, Louisiana has been governed under ten different flags. Although prehistoric Indians lived on the land 6,000 years ago, the first permanent settlement was established in 1714 at what is now Natchitoches.

Because of its control of the Mississippi, New Orleans and the surrounding regions became vital to the security and trade of the mid-west. To gain control of the region, President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and almost doubled the size of the new nation making it a world power.

Louisiana became the 18th state to join the Union on April 30, 1812, but during the Civil War the state seceded from the Union and joined with the Confederacy for several months. It was readmitted into the Union in 1868 and when it accepted the new constitution which gave freedom to African Americans.

Since its early history, Louisiana has been a trading and financial center in the United States. The fertile land has made it one of the richest areas in the country. The states productions of indigo, sugar and cotton have gained worldwide prominence.

Sulfur was discovered in 1869 and was followed by the discovery of oil in 1901. Even today the state is still a major producer of natural gas and oil and has become a center for the manufacture of petrochemicals and refining. Tourism is the second largest industry in Louisiana, it generates billions of dollars of revenue each year and employees over 100,000 people.

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