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Home > History > Louisiana Purchase Description and Map

Louisiana Purchase Description and Map

This page describes the Louisiana Purchase.

Louisiana Purchase Map

Louisiana Purchase Map

The Greatest Real Estate Deal in History

The Louisiana Purchase has been described as the "greatest real estate deal in history." In 1803, The United States government purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon I of France for 60 million Francs, or, about $15,000,000. $11,250,000 was paid directly and the remainder was covered by French debt to U.S. citizens.

Doubling the United States

The Louisiana Purchase was consummated in order to secure free navigation of the Mississippi River. President Jefferson sent two negotiators - James Monroe and Robert Livingston to France to convince Napoleon I to sell the city of New Orleans. Time was of the essence because many viewed Napoleon's acquisition of the Louisiana Territory as a means to invade the United States. Surprisingly, Napoleon offered not only New Orleans, but the entire Louisiana Territory for sale. Because a constitutional amendment authorizing the acquisition would take too long, and because Napoleon wanted the deal finalized quickly, Jefferson held the issue to a vote. Americans overwhelmingly voted in favor of purchasing the Louisiana Territory. Its 800,000 square mile area quickly doubled the size of the United States. Soon after the acquisition, Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on an expedition through the new lands in which hundreds of new animals were discovered as well as Native American tribes and a route to the Pacific Ocean.

Louisiana Purchase Articles and Activities


The Story of a Growing Nation

Original Colonies
Colonial Territory (Northwest Territory)
Land Ordinances of 1784 and 1785
The Louisiana Purchase
The Establishment of the 49th Parallel
The Monroe Doctrine
The Adams-Onis Treaty and the Annexation of Florida
The Building of the Erie Canal
The Battle of the Alamo
Oregon Territory
Manifest Destiny
California Gold Rush
Mexican-American War
The Alaska Purchase
The Annexation of Hawaii
The Gadsden Purchase


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