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071 What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

B: 1800s

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
• The Louisiana Territory
• Louisiana

In the late 1700s, New Orleans was one of the United States’ most important ports, since it was a city next to the water where ships or large boats could come and go. The United States used New Orleans to transport (or move) food and other products, but the city didn’t belong to the U.S. New Orleans first belonged to Spain and then to France. This was a problem for the United States, because if those other countries decided to block (or not allow) America’s access to New Orleans, the country wouldn’t be able to send and receive the things it wanted to buy and sell.

So, when Thomas Jefferson was president, the United States negotiated (or reached an agreement) with France to buy New Orleans. The negotiators were
prepared (or ready) to buy New Orleans for $10 million. Imagine how surprised they were when the French government offered to sell the entire (or whole) area, a much, much bigger area than just New Orleans known as the Louisiana Territory, for just $15 million. This area was almost 830,000 square miles! This was much more land than the U.S. had intended (or planned) to buy, but the opportunity was too good to pass up (or not buy).

The territory was bought in 1803 and the transaction (or sale) became known as the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Territory was larger than the whole United States at that time. Today the area is almost one-fourth (or 25%) of the United States, covering 15 states and part of Canada.

Most of the Louisiana Territory was uncharted land when it was bought, meaning hat it was land that no one had explored (or traveled to and knew very much about). It was also home for many Native Americans who were not involved in the transaction and did not even know about the purchase. The United States and France had agreed that the U.S. would own the land, but the U.S. would spend the next years fighting the Native Americans there to decide who would actually get to use the land.


port – a city next to the water where boats can come and go, delivering and picking up products
* The Port of Seattle is one of the busiest ports in North America.

to transport (something) – to move things from one place to another, usually over a large distance
* Is corn transported in trucks or trains?

to block (something) – to not allow something to happen; to prevent something from happening
* The theater uses an electronic device that blocks cell phone signals so that people can't talk on their phones during performances.

to negotiate – to discuss something, trying to get the other person or organization to agree to what one wants
* In the United States, people are expected to negotiate the price when they buy a car.

territory – an area of land that belongs to the United States but is not a state
* Many early Americans went to the Oregon Territory to find gold and to hunt.

to intend – to plan to do something
* Takhiro was just being careless when speaking and never intended to hurt your feelings.

to pass up – to decide not do something; to miss an opportunity to do something
* The price was too good to pass up, so she bought four bottles of shampoo, even though she didn't really need that much.

transaction – a sale; an exchange of money between a buyer and seller
* How many transactions does your store have on a normal day?

uncharted – unexplored; not known in very much detail; unfamiliar
* When Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean, North and South America were uncharted areas.