April 12, 1803
French minister of the Public Treasury, Francois Barbe-Marbois, met with Robert R. Livingston, the American ambassador, in Paris, France, to discuss the possibility of the United States purchasing about 800,000 square miles of land stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. This became known as the Louisiana Purchase. Named “Louisiana” after the French “sun king” Louis XIV, the territory comprised most of the present-day western United States, including Arkansas. The Louisiana Purchase allowed the U.S. government to open lands in the west for settlement, secured its borders against foreign threat, and ensured the right to deposit goods duty-free at port cities (mainly New Orleans). In Arkansas, the Louisiana Purchase signaled an end to French and Spanish dominance.