The Louisiana Purchase, 1803

It was the real estate deal of the century, brought to you by your US federal government.  The US Senate approved the Louisiana Purchase on October 20, 1803.  The western half of the Mississippi River basin was purchased for $15 million, about four cents per acre.  The size of the nation was doubled with the stroke of a pen.  The Spanish had controlled the territory and the valuable port of Nuevo Orleans since 1762.  Under pressure from the French, they had ceded territorial control in 1800.  A few years later, when Emperor Napoleon was strapped for cash after an expensive military campaign and defeat in Santo Domingo, the French sold the territory to the US.

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