Louisiana is a state in the southcentral or deep south region of the United States, nestled between Mississippi and Texas and just south of Arkansas. The state is made up of twisting shorelines along the Gulf of Mexico and is known for its cajun and creole cuisine, diverse cultural heritage, jazz music, and mardi gras celebrations. But what is the capital of Louisiana?
The capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge, a city situated on the Mississippi River in the eastern part of the state. Baton Rouge was settled as early as the 17th century, incorporated in 1817, and officially announced as Louisiana’s permanent capital in 1882.
This article will discuss what the capital of Louisiana is. So read on! We have everything you need to know about Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana.
Where is the Capital of Louisiana Located?
The capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge, a city situated in the eastern part of the state, lying on the eastern banks of the Mississippi River. It acts as the parish seat of East Baton Rouge Parish, one of Louisiana’s most popular parishes.
Baton Rouge is the second largest city in Louisiana after New Orleans. It’s known for its spectacular views of the Mississippi River, for having the tallest state capitol in the county for its distinctive cajun and creole culture, and as the home of LSU.
Baton Rouge is also known to history as it was the site of the only battle fought during the American Revolution that took place outside the territory of the original 13 colonies.
A brief History of Baton Rouge
Human habitation in the area of Baton Rouge has been dated by archaeologists to at least 12,000 years ago, based on artifacts found along the Mississippi, Amite, and Comite rivers.
The earliest inhabitants of the Baton Rouge area were ancestors of ancient indigenous peoples who we now call Native Americans. The exact date these tribes first moved into the area is unknown, but they have lived here for many millennia.
Earthworks and mounds across the Baton Rouge area are thought to have been constructed in the fourth millennium BCE. These early people may be related to the other mound-building cultures that existed across the Mississippi River valleys and Ohio River valleys.
The earliest peoples to whom we can ascribe a name include tribes such as the Choctaw, Houma, Chitimacha, Alabama, Koasati, and the Tunica-Biloxi, among many others. Each of these tribes has its own culture, arts, and language.
The first foreign explorer in the area was a French man, Pierre Le Moyne, who led an expedition up the Mississippi River to the area surrounding Baton Rouge in 1698. They saw a red pole that marked the boundary between the Bayagoula and Houma tribes, and this is where the name Baton Rouge comes from, as it’s the French translation of ‘red stick.’
The earliest foreign settlement of Baton Rouge began in 1721 when a band of French colonists established a trading and military post in the area. After the French-Native American war of the mid-18th century, the British won eastern Louisiana and renamed it West Florida Colony.
It wasn’t until the early 19th century that the name would be changed back to Baton Rouge. After the Americans had risen against West Florida’s Spanish rulers in 1810, American citizens of the area voted to change the name back to Baton Rouge.
During this early part of the 19th century, Baton Rouge encountered steady economic growth due to the steamboat trade and transportation.
When did Baton Rouge become the Capital of Louisiana?
The first capital of the French territory of Louisiana was Mobile, chosen in 1702, yet by 1722 it was moved to New Orleans, a town founded by the French in 1718.
By 1830, It was decided by the regional government to move the capital from New Orleans to Donaldsonville. Donaldsonville was used as the capital for a year until it was again decided to move the capital, this time back to New Orleans, where it remained as the state’s capital for 14 years from 1831 to 1849.
The capital then switched back and forward between Baton Rouge and New Orleans during the middle part of the 19th century before Baton Rouge was officially named the permanent capital in 1882.
Why is Baton Rouge the Capital of Louisiana?
The capital of Louisiana had switched back and forward between New Orleans and Baton Rouge throughout the 19th century. New Orleans was deemed too close to the mouth of the Mississippi River, which left the city vulnerable to attacks from the Gulf Of Mexico.
Baton Rouge was selected as the state’s permanent capital in 1882, as it was seen as a central eastern location in the state, yet still located on the Mississippi River, which was great for trade.
In 1845, Louisiana lawmakers approved a new state constitution that states the new capitol should be more than 60 miles from ‘sinful’ New Orleans, and thus Baton Rouge was selected as it lies around 100 miles north of New Orleans.
Best Places to visit in Baton Rouge
Here are five of the best places to visit if you’re planning a trip to Louisiana and you know you’ll be spending some time in its capital city, Baton Rouge.
1. LSU Tigers Stadium
College football is huge in Louisiana, and the LSU Tiger Stadium, that’s located in the heart of the city, is enormous. This 100,000-seated venue is a majestic place if you ask the locals and is often described as one of the loudest stadiums in the country. So, a trip here is necessary if you’re looking for a fun, exciting, and adventurous day out.
2. Louisiana’s State Capitol
Louisiana’s State Capitol building is a sight to see for sure. This art deco masterpiece is the largest state building in the United States and has a great deal of history behind it. There has been an assignation attempt, a bomb threat, and plenty of political figures leaving their mark on this great building. Take a stroll around its multiple levels and enjoy all this site offers.
3. Knock Knock Children’s Museum
The Knock Knock Children’s Museum is a great family adventure if you’re interested in getting the kids out for a day. It has everything from exciting and interactive exhibits to cars and crane sections. It even has a little library for the kids who prefer to steer clear of the action.
4. Pedal Tour The Downtown
If you want to paint the Downtown rouge (or red), this pub pedal tour is a perfect way to see some of the city and enjoy yourself simultaneously. The tour will last for around two hours, and you’ll stop at a few iconic restaurants and bars on your way around the city.
5. Magnolia Mound Plantation
If you want to learn a little bit about the history of Colonial Louisiana, then the Magnolia Mound Plantation is a great place to visit. This historic home dates back to the 18th century and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in all Louisiana. You can even take a quick guided tour around the property and learn a little about the area’s history.