11.04.

1803: Napoleon Offers the Americans a Territory as Big as the Whole of Western Europe for only 15 Million Dollars

1803: Napoleon Offers the Americans a Territory as Big as the Whole of Western Europe for only 15 Million Dollars
Photo Credit To http://capitalcitiesusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/23-monument-close.jpg

The territory was Louisiana, which at that time covered some 214 million hectares.

This day in 1803 marks the date when the French offered the Americans the entire territory of Louisiana for only 15 million dollars. However, Louisiana was much larger then – its territory covered what are now 15 U.S. states (Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Louisiana), a total of around 214 million hectares.

The U.S. ambassador in Paris, Robert R. Livingston, also known as “The Chancellor”, was likely surprised by the French offer since he had been sent there to buy the area around New Orleans for 10 million dollars. The purchase of a hundred times larger territory for only 50% more seemed like a bargain and he was certain his compatriots would approve. And indeed, the purchase agreement was signed in late April that same year. The transaction was conducted by Napoleon’s minister François Barbé-Marbois. The USA gained a territory larger than the whole of Western Europe for only 7 cents per hectare.

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