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apr 30, 1803 - Louisiana Purchase

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Age: 60

Towards the end of the seventeenth century and into the beginning of the eighteenth century, French hunters and traders explore and settle in areas along the Mississippi River and as far up as the Rocky Mountains. Later in the eighteenth century France would officially claim these settlements and call their territory Lousiana. In 1762 as a result of their defeat during the Seven Years' War France cedes the west portion of the territory to Spain and the east portion to Britain through the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau.

On October 27th, 1796, while under Spanish control a treaty is signed with thee United States called the Pinckney's Treaty, which grants the United States the right to deposit and store goods in New Orleans and the right to freely use the Mississippi River. However, on October 1st, 1802, through the secret Third Treaty of Saint Ildefonso, Spain in name recedes the Louisiana Territory to France (though they delay the official transfer of power to France) and revokes the rights of the deposit that were granted to the United States through the Pinckney Treaty. Taking these new developments into consideration along with Napoleon Bonaparte's ambitious goal to reestablish France's New World Empire, American concerns regarding control over the area and security of the western front were heightened. Upon hearing of Spain's recession of the territory to France, Jefferson sends Robert R. Livingston under orders to purchase New Orleans and the environment around the area for no more than $10 million. In January 1803 with negotiations between Livingston and the French foreign minister Marquis de Talleyrand not making much headway, T.J. recommends James Monroe to help with the negotiations. Monroe arrives in France on April 12th.


After failing to subdue the slave insurrection in the Caribbeans and after growing tensions with the United Kingdom prompt Bonaparte to declare war on the United Kingdom, Bonaparte is forced to abandon his ambition to reestablish the France's New World Empire. With France facing a financial crisis and war on the horizon, Napoleon decides to sell the whole Louisiana Territory to the United States for FF68 million ($15 Million) and orders Talleyrand to make the offer to Livingston. Talleyrand makes the offer to Livingston on April 11th, one day before James Monroe arrives. Believing the French would withdraw the offer, the two Americans work quickly to negotiate the terms of the offer between the two governments. On April 30th, 1803, the purchase treaty is signed and the Louisiana Territory is sold to the United States at the price of FF50 million ($11,250,00) for the territory itself and a cancellation of debt worth FF8 million ($3.75 million) for a total of FF68 million ($15 million).

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Thomas Jefferson
Hi folks! As indicated by the title, this is a timeline on T...

Date:

apr 30, 1803
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~ 215 years ago

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