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Here, therefore, are 10 important facts that every American should know about the Louisiana Purchase.
While the state of Louisiana was included in the original purchase it comprises only a relatively small portion of the area of land bought by Thomas Jefferson.
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With a poorly manned and equipped army decimated by Jeffersonian defense policy the prospect of war with the European powers was a potentially devastating threat.
American goods in their western territories had to either be transported across country to the east on a long and difficult journey or brought down the Mississippi and stored at New Orleans.
Had the French empire been established it would have prevented American settlers from expanding westwards and, even if tensions did not escalate(as they did in years to come with the Mexican War), a French colony would have confined the USA to the states east of the Mississippi, a much smaller country and unlikely ever to be the world player that it subsequently became.
France explored and settled the Mississippi River from the 1682 onwards and, for a time, controlled more land in what eventually became the continental United States than any other colonial power.
In 1762 France passed all of its American land west of the Mississippi to Spain, ceding the eastern domains to Britain.
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Much of the land covered by the Louisiana Purchase was wild and controlled more by French and British fur trappers and traders than by the French or Spanish colonial administration.