The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

New Tensions in America

Political Changes For Louisiana

The transfer of Louisiana from France to the United States at New Orleans, 20 December 1803

Caption: The transfer of Louisiana from France to the United States at New Orleans, 20 December 1803

Naval security was, however, not the only matter of concern to Canadians. New events required their attention. Right after the peace of 1802 had been declared, Napoleon announced that France was retaking Louisiana. This would mean that western Canada would immediately find itself neighbouring an immense French territory! Nothing good could come of this, particularly when it was learned that a French prefect had arrived at New Orleans in March 1803 with a few officers, and an army of 3,700 men would soon be joining them to replace the Spanish. The joy of the people of Louisiana, who were almost entirely of French descent, did not last. When war against England resumed, Napoleon believed that Louisiana was impossible to defend and he sold it to the United States. On December 20, 1803, the Stars and Stripes replaced the French flag at New Orleans. This was the best geostrategic card Napoleon could have played, because Louisiana thus became part of a neutral nation, with no particular allegiance to the British.