1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto visits Louisiana in his explorations of the American southeast.
1684: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle names the region Louisiana in honor of France’s King Louis XIV.
1699: The first permanent settlement in Louisiana, Fort Maurepas, is founded by French-Candia explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville
1722: New Orleans, located near the mouth of the Mississippi River, is named capital of New France.
1763: Most of Louisiana, other than New Orleans, becomes a Spanish possession as a result of the defeat of the French by the British in the French and Indian War.
1763-1800: Acadians, French settlers expelled from Nova Scotia, Canada by the British after the French and Indian War, descend upon Louisiana and settle by the thousands. These settlers would be called “Cajuns” by the Spanish.
1800: French ruler Napoleon I re-acquires Louisiana from the Spanish in the Treaty of San Ildefonso.
1803: Napoleon I offers to sell New Orleans and the entire Louisiana Territory (which included an area much larger than present-day Louisiana) to the U.S. Government for $15,000,000. The United States agrees and America doubles in size.
1811: The largest slave uprising in American history occurs near New Orleans. In what came to be known as the German Coast Uprising, 95 slaves were executed.
1812: Louisiana is admitted as a state.
1840: New Orleans establishes itself as the center of the American slave-trading industry.
1861: Louisiana secedes from the Union and joins the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
1862: Union forces capture New Orleans, the largest city in the Confederacy. Subsequent ports near New Orleans would also be taken by U.S. Naval forces.
1870: Louisiana is readmitted to the Union.
1897: The notable 19th-century Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, determined that segregation could be legal so long as it did not result in inequality. It originated in Louisiana.
2005: Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans, breeching its levees and flooding the city. A major humanitarian crisis ensues and thousands of people lose their homes. At least 1,500 people are killed as a result of the hurricane, and the city loses nearly half of its population.