Louisiana Purchase: What a Bargain!

By St_Louis_night_expblend.jpg: Daniel Schwenderivative work: ←fetchcomms - St_Louis_night_expblend.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14673204
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis commemorates the westward expansion of the United States, which included the Louisiana Purchase in 1804. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1804, France officially turned over the Louisiana territory to the United States during a ceremony in St. Louis.

Here are some things you may not have known about the Louisiana Purchase.

The Louisiana Purchase consisted of 828,000 square miles, including parts of 15 current states and parts of two Canadian provinces. The territory was named for King Louis XIV by French explorer Robert de La Salle.

France controlled the territory until ceding it to Spain following the French and Indian War. Spain held it until 1800 when they gave it back to France. The two nations kept the transaction a secret and Spain kept control of the region until France could take the reins.

The United States initially was interested in purchasing New Orleans and some coastal areas from France. The French offered the entire Louisiana Territory after Napoleon’s plan to rebuild an empire in North America fell apart.

The Americans purchased the land for $15 million, or about 3 cents an acre.

The Spanish turned over control to the French and Americans in December 1803, however, word didn’t travel up the Mississippi River, which was closed to navigation for the winter.

On March 9, 1804, an American delegation including Meriwether Lewis arrived in St. Louis to assume control of the territory from the Spanish. That night, the Spanish flag was lowered and the French flag was raised and flown all night. The next day the American flag was hoisted.

Our question: Parts of which two Canadian provinces were included in the Louisiana Purchase?

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