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Map of "Louisiana" by Samuel Lewis, from New and Elegant General Atlas, Philadelphia, 1804

Samuel Lewis, a Philadelphia cartographer, created this 1804 map of the Louisiana Territory. Lewis had previously produced authoritative maps of the original thirteen states and the Northwest Territory. Later he incorporated information from the Lewis and Clark expedition into U.S. maps detailing previously uncharted areas of the West.

Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

Samuel Lewis, a Philadelphia cartographer, created this 1804 map of the Louisiana Territory. Louisiana Purchase

Creating a National Community

In 1803, the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France, more than doubling the size of the country and adding new populations with diverse languages and cultures. Residents of New Orleans—of French, Spanish, African, Cajun, and Acadian descent—were apprehensive about the transfer of power. As they sought to learn about their new government, President Jefferson gathered data about Indian nations of the northwest, reaching into present-day North and South Dakota.