The Louisiana region was settled by Indians in prehistoric times, at least as early as 6,000 years ago. At the time of European exploration in the 16th century, there were more than 10,000 Indians in Louisiana. Tribes of the Muskhogean language family occupied the east-central and southeast region, Tunican tribes lived along the coast and in the northeast, and tribes of the Caddoan group inhabited the north and northwest. Generally these Indians lived in permanent villages and depended upon agriculture for their subsistence.

Important dates in Louisiana
1541 Hernando de Soto led a group of Spanish conquistadors (conquerors) into the lower Mississippi River area.
1682 Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, reached the mouth of the Mississippi River. He claimed for France all the land drained by the Mississippi and its tributary river systems.
1699 Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, reclaimed the area for France. France had earlier abandoned it.
1714 Louis Juchereau de St. Denis founded Natchitoches, the first permanent town in Louisiana.
1718 Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, founded New Orleans.
1762 France ceded Louisiana to Spain.
1795 Etienne de Bore successfully began granulating sugar on his New Orleans plantation.
1800 Spain ceded Louisiana back to France.
1803 The U.S. purchased Louisiana from France.
1812 Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30.
1815 During the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson and his small force defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans. Neither side was aware that the war had ended two weeks earlier.
1861 Louisiana seceded from the Union.
1862 Union troops captured New Orleans during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and held the city throughout the war.
1868 Louisiana was readmitted to the Union.
1901 Oil was discovered near Jennings and White Castle.
1916 The Monroe natural gas field was opened.
1928 Huey P. Long was elected governor.
1935 Long, at the time a U.S. senator, was assassinated.
1963 The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a short cut for shippers between New Orleans and the sea, opened.
1975 The new state Constitution went into effect.
1979 David C. Treen became the first Republican to be elected governor of Louisiana since the 1870’s.
1990 Louisiana voters approved a state lottery.
2003 Kathleen B. Blanco became the first woman to be elected governor of Louisiana.