A Brief Early History of Baton Rouge

As the name of the city suggests, Baton Rouge was named by the French, who, in 1699 came upon red sticks marking the boundaries of rival tribal hunting grounds. The full settlement of the city came in 1721, which was when French colonists arrived, although they were soon to be joined by Acadian settlers forced out of Canada by the British. The French flag would fly in Baton Rouge until 1763, when the city was signed over to the British as part of the Treaty of Paris settlement.

The British hold on Baton Rouge was somewhat short, as they maintained control of the region that was widely known as South Florida until 1779. Once the Revolutionary War ended, the British gave control of
that region to the Spanish, but not before driving out thousands of Acadians. Those who stayed started calling themselves Cajuns, which was derived from the French word “Acadians.”

The Spanish claim on the land was also rather short, as things changed again in 1810, although parts of the city that we know today, such as the Historic Highland Road, were formed during this period. The move to the city, as we now know it, began in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase, with Louisiana admitted to the Union as a state in 1812. After the civil war ended in 1865, Baton Rouge began a period of reconstruction that helped to turn it into the beautiful city on the Mississippi River that we know today.