The Spanish explorer Henando Desoto discovered the Mississippi in 1541 and claimed the entire surrounding territory for Spain.
They were the first non-native settlers in this area and as with every land that they conquered, they pursued the quest for gold. Alas, the new territory was fruitless and their enthusiasm soon drained.
The French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle arrived at the Gulf of Mexico on April 9th 1682 and claimed the territory for France.
Through a peace treaty in 1762, France ceded the territory back to Spain and the Spanish ruled until 1800.
During this period the population increased by 20,000, of which, around 8,500 were slaves.
The new Spanish Governor Alejandro O'Reilly, declared enslavement of Native Americans in order to prevent fighting between tribes as one tribe would raid another for slaves to sell on the open market.
This period was one of growth and stability.
After the Great New Orleans Fires of 1788 and 1794, most of the city was rebuilt in the Spanish style. The French Quarter buildings with overhanging balconies and the iconic St Louis Cathedral are of Spanish influence.
After the treaty of San Ildefonso on October 1, 1800, the territory transferred back to France.