This volume defines the antebellum outlines of North Louisiana. The essayists delineate the historical and geographic forces that have shaped the development of the North Louisiana region.

 

In North Louisiana the Mississippi River and its tributaries became the focus of settlement, agriculture, and transportation. The rivalries of France, Spain, England, and later the United States, and their conflicts with the Native Americans also influenced the settlement pattern. The local life of the plantation gentry and yeoman farmers is interpreted to explain the evolution from a frontier to a major agricultural society. Plantation agriculture based on large land and slave holdings emerged along the Mississippi, Tensas, and Ouachita Rivers in northeastern and east central Louisiana and further west along the Red River south to Natchitoches. Yeoman farmers and small planters in the uplands between the rich river-plantation areas developed a more diverse agricultural economy. In addition to settlement and economic development, other themes are transportation, ethnicity, politics, religion, education, and the Civil War.

 

By correlating the array of events and personalities the essayists enable readers to see North Louisiana as a distinctive area and at the same time to place the area in the State’s historical context.