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Territory of Louisiana

Not to be confused with the Territory of Orleans, the organized incorporated territory that became the State of Louisiana in 1812.
Territory of Louisiana
Organized incorporated territory of the United States


Flag of the United States

A map of the Territory of Louisiana
Government Organized incorporated territory
 -  1807–1809 Meriwether Lewis
 -  1813–1820 William Clark
 -  Established July 4, 1805
 -  Renaming at Louisiana's Statehood June 4, 1812

The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805 until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed to Missouri Territory. It was formed out of part of the lands acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, in which French Louisiana was bought from France.

Legislating two territories

The Eighth Congress of the United States on March 26, 1804, passed legislation entitled "An act erecting Louisiana into two territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof",[1] which established Territory of Orleans and the civil District of Louisiana. This act, effective October 1, 1804, expanded the authority of the governor and judges of Indiana Territory to provide temporary jurisdiction over the District of Louisiana.

Creating Louisiana Territory

On March 3, 1805, Congress enacted legislation organizing the District of Louisiana into the Louisiana Territory, effective July 4, 1805. This territorial government was organized similarly to that of the Indiana Territory.[2]


The Louisiana Territory included everything in the Louisiana Purchase north of the 33rd parallel (the southern boundary of the present state of Arkansas). The southern and western boundaries with Spanish Texas and New Mexico were not fully defined until the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819. The seat of government was St. Louis.


The Louisiana Territory had five subdivisions St. Louis District, St. Charles District, Ste. Genevieve District, Cape Girardeau District and New Madrid District. In 1806, the territorial legislature created the District of Arkansas from lands ceded by the Osage Nation. The remainder was known as the Upper Louisiana Territory.


Both Meriwether Lewis (1807–1809) and William Clark (1813–1820) served as territorial governors of the Louisiana Territory.

On October 1, 1812, Governor Clark organized the five administrative districts of Upper Louisiana Territory into counties, which later became the first five counties of Missouri Territory. In 1818, Franklin and Jefferson counties were formed out of the original St. Louis County, leaving St. Louis County with the land that today comprises St. Louis County and St. Louis.

Renamed as Territory of Missouri

On June 4, 1812, the Twelfth U.S. Congress enacted legislation that renamed the Louisiana Territory as the Territory of Missouri to avoid confusion with the recently admitted state of Louisiana.[3]

See also


External links

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