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Louisiana Deed History

Although it was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Louisiana did not become a U.S. state until 1812, when it was admitted to the Union as the 18th state. The Louisiana Purchase is when America acquired 828,000 square miles from France’s claim to the territory of Louisiana. At the time, the territory encompassed all or part of 15 present-day U.S. states, plus two Canadian provinces. Prior to this, the Louisiana Territory was controlled by the French from 1699 until 1762 when the territory went to Spain. France took control again of the region in 1800, and in 1803, America acquired the vast region during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, though America had originally only planned on purchasing New Orleans and adjacent lands.

Louisiana is made up of parishes rather than counties. There are a total of 64 parishes in the state. When Louisiana was the Territory of Orleans, it was divided into 12 counties with borders that roughly coincided with the colonial parishes. In 1807, the territorial legislature divided the state into 19 parishes without abolishing the old counties. The old counties were in existence until 1845.The oldest permanent European settlement in Louisiana Purchase Territory is the settlement of Natchitoches, established in 1714. One of the first officials to serve as clerk of the parish court in Natchitoches is Samuel Hopkins Sibley, who served from 1815 until 1823.

The earliest land records in Louisiana were kept by the French and Spanish, and most of the early records were filed with notarial records. An official land policy was introduced in 1770 by Alejandro O’Reilly when Louisiana was under Spanish control, but this policy was overturned in 1798.