France could today be at the head of the Louisiana, a quarter of the territory that makes up the United States. So why did France sell Louisiana ?
Why did France sell Louisiana : to finance the conquests
On April 30, 1803, France ceded Louisiana to the Americans for 15 million dollars. A sum that will serve Bonaparte’s European military projects, in exchange for a territory covering nearly a quarter of the current surface of the United States. Before Louisiana was sold to the United States, it had already been ceded once to Spain. It was Louis XV who, in 1763, had abandoned this immense territory, stretching from present-day Louisiana to Canada (more than 22% of the current size of the United States). After the establishment of the Consulate in 1799, which saw Napoleon Bonaparte take power in France, the situation changed. He wishes to recover Louisiana to develop his policy in America. A secret agreement is concluded with Spain in 1800. The Treaty of San Ildefonso indicates that Spain will retrocede Louisiana in exchange for territories in Italy, this retrocession to take place later. Napoleon Bonaparte once considered embarking on the construction of an American empire. Finally he changes his mind: a war with the English and other countries is preparing in Europe.
Napoloeon must finance his conquests
To keep the upper hand, he must finance his conquests. He needs money and cannot disperse. Thomas Jefferson, then president of the fledgling United States of America, expressed his interest in New Orleans, a highly strategic port on the continent. In the end, Napoleon offered to buy the whole of Louisiana. The Americans did not believe their ears, nor did the Emperor’s entourage. This territory of more than 2,000,000 km2 would allow the United States to double its surface without shedding a drop of blood! They are quick to accept. France sold Louisiana to the United States for 60 million francs, which allowed Napoleon Bonaparte to partially finance his military campaigns. The sale of the French colony of Louisiana by Napoleon Bonaparte to the United States of America marked the end of a long history that spans three centuries. However, French colonization in Louisiana left an important cultural heritage, and the French language remained the main language spoken in Louisiana until the Civil War.