French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle arrived sat the Gulf of Mexico on April 9th 1682, having traveled down the Mississippi River, naming the territory Louisiana after King Louis XlV of France. A seasoned explorer, La Sallle set out again from France in 1678, eventually meeting his death in Texas in 1687.
Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne,Sieur de Iberville founded New Orleans in 1718 and a year later the first ship of African slaves arrived.
Mobile was established as the first capitol in 1702, transferring the title to Biloxi in 1720, then to New Orleans in 1723.
In 1756 France and Britain commenced the Seven Year's War, prior to that, the French settlers in Acadian (Canada) were under pressure from the English to renounce Roman Catholicism, igniting the start of the exodus from Acadia.
In 1762 the French relinquished government and signed Western Louisiana over to Spain and the Eastern section to England. A year later the French ceded Canada to the English, hastening the movement of Acadian (Cajun) refugees.
During the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), French settlers fought against the British, alongside the Louisiana militia.
Back in France they had a Revolution of their own brewing, with the advent of riots and civil unrest from 1792 through to the executions of King Louis XVI on January 21, 1793 and Marie Antoinette on October 16.
In 1800, after the revolution in France and under the rule of the First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, France won the territory back from Spain, building up troops in readiness for an assault on St Domingue and New Orleans. However, with his troops dying of yellow fever and the fight with England draining his resources, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803 for $15,000,000.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 added 828,000 square miles (2,144,000 square kilometers to the existing United States.