iApprove: The Louisiana Purchase.

May 11, 2009

History has always been something of a touchy spot for me.  Particularly US history.  I think the reason is because (1) there isn’t a whole lot of it, (2) it spends inordinate amounts of time glorifying the dudes who ordered genocide on the natives, and (3) as a Statesian, I am expected to memorize US history so that I can be Teh Patriotz.

I am not Teh Patriotz.  I don’t hate my country or anything, but I’m far from the mindless government-worshipper that some people seem to expect us to be.

Consequentially, when I heard about the Louisiana Purchase, I was less than impressed.  “They bought Louisiana?” I thunk to myself.  “Meh.  Whatever.  It’s not that fantastic.”

Nobody ever told me how big Louisiana was when they bought it.

Turns out it wasn’t just the state that we know today.  The Louisiana of 1803 was an enormous parcel of land – nearly one-third of what we now know as the United States – that effectively split the country in two.  It included land that would become six different states – Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska – and parts of eight others, as well as tiny fragments of what would later become Alberta and Saskatchewan.

(I also approve of Saskatchewan.  Very few places exist in North America with names that awesome.)

This map of 1803’s North America helps to put it into perspective:

Much cooler than one itty-bitty state.

Read more about the purchase at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

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