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The Louisiana purchase. (Geoskills).

The first three rules to follow in real estate are: "location, location, location." In other words, where you buy is almost more important than what you buy. Two hundred years ago, the United States government proved the saying true.

In 1803, the U.S. extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River The new nation had doubled in size since its founding. But what would happen if other countries tried to claim more land in North America?

Spain and Great Britain already owned land in the New World. France had recently taken a huge area, Loulsiana, from Spain. This territory was right on the western U.S. border.

The U.S. feared that the French would establish an empire in North America, blocking U.S. expansion west. Westerners needed the Mississippi River and the port at New Orleans to get their products to market.

Trying to make the best of the situation, President Thomas Jefferson offered to buy New Orleans from the French. He was shocked when Napoleon, who badly needed money for his wars, offered to sell the territory.

On May 2, 1803, the U.S. signed a treary with France and purchased Louisiana, gaining about 827,987 square miles of land. The U.S. agreed to pay the French about $15 million, less than 3 cents an acre, for some of the most fertile soil in the world.

The transaction became known as the Louisiana Purchase. Two hundred years later, it is also known as "the greatest real-estate bargain in history."

What rivers and other features were part of the new U.S. territory? Study the map, and then answer the questions below.


1. What natural feature farmed the western border of the U.S. before the Louisiana Purchase?

2. About how many square miles of land did the Louisiana Purchase include?

3. Which nations claimed Oregon Country in 1803?

4. Which U.S. state controlled Maine in 1803?

5. Which country controlled Florida in 1803?

6. What mountain range formed the western border of the Louisiana Purchase?

7. What is the distance from New Orleans to Pikes Peak?

8. The Mississippi River empties into which body of water?

9. What are the latitude and longitude of New Orleans?

10. What strategic advantages did the Louisiana Purchase provide for the United States?
GeoSkills questions, p. 18

 1. Mississippi River
 2. 830,000 sq mi
 3. Great Britain, Russia, Spain, and the U.S.
 4. Massachusetts
 5. Spain
 6. Rocky Mountains
 7. about 1,050 miles
 8. Gulf of Mexico
 9. 30[degrees] N, 90[degrees] W
10. The purchase gave the interior
 of the U.S. a stronger defense
 against invaders and helped further
 westward expansion and trade.
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Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:1U7LA
Date:Apr 25, 2003
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