In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte sought to create a great French empire in the New World, with the center of that empire being the nation of Hispaniola (located in present-day Haiti). Napoleon envisioned that the vast Mississippi River Valley, called Louisiana, could easily become a major trade center for his emerging empire, shipping food and supplies from the north into Central America. The Louisiana region had been named for French King Louis XIV and covered 530 million acres (828,000 sq miles) from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
Had President Thomas Jefferson not purchased the Louisiana Territory in 1803, Iowa just might have been a French province in the expanding nation of Hispaniola!
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