Territory of Orleans
|Territory of Orleans|
|Organized incorporated territory of the United States|
|Government||Organized incorporated territory|
|-||1804–1812||William C. C. Claiborne|
|-||1807–1811||Thomas Bolling Robertson|
|-||Established||October 1, 1804|
|-||Statehood||April 30, 1812|
The Territory of Orleans or Orleans Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from October 1, 1804 until April 30, 1812, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Louisiana.
In 1804, all of the Louisiana Purchase south of the 33rd parallel became the Orleans Territory, and the remainder became the District of Louisiana. (The District of Louisiana was later renamed the Louisiana Territory, and still later, when the Orleans Territory became the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Territory was renamed the Missouri Territory.)
The Organic Act of 1804 also created the United States District Court for the District of Orleans—the only time Congress has ever provided a territory with a United States district court equal in its authority and jurisdiction to those of the states. Congress also established the Superior Court for the Territory of Orleans whose three judges were the top territorial court.
On April 10, 1805, the Territorial Legislature organized 12 counties (starting from the southeast corner moving west and north): Orleans County, LaFourche County, German Coast, Acadia County, Iberville County, Attakapas County, Pointe Coupée County, Opelousas County, Rapides County, Concordia County, Natchitoches County, and Ouachita County. The Florida Parishes on the east bank of the Mississippi were not included in Orleans Territory at this time, as they were in the Spanish territory of West Florida until they were annexed in 1810. The western boundary with Spanish Texas was not fully defined until the Adams–Onís Treaty in 1819. A strip of land known as the Sabine Free State just east of the Sabine River served as a neutral ground buffer area from about 1807 until 1819.
The Orleans Territory was the site of the largest slave revolt in American history, the 1811 German Coast Uprising.
Leaders and representatives
William C. C. Claiborne was appointed the only governor of the Orleans Territory. He later became the first governor of the state of Louisiana.
Judges of the Superior Court were John Bartow Prevost (1804–1808), Ephraim Kirby (1804) (died en route to New Orleans), Peter Stephen Duponceau (1804) (declined President Thomas Jefferson's appointment), William Sprigg (1805–1807), George Mathews, Jr. (1805–1813), Joshua Lewis (1807–1813) and Francois Xavier Martin (1810–1813). Judge Dominic Augustin Hall was the federal district judge of the Territory.
- Historic regions of the United States
- History of Louisiana
- Territorial evolution of the United States
- Territories of Spain that encompassed land that would later become part of the Orleans Territory:
- Territory of France that encompassed land that would later become part of the Orleans Territory:
- Louisiane, 1682–1764 and 1803
- Territory of the Kingdom of Great Britain that encompassed land that would later become part of the Orleans Territory:
- West Florida, 1763–1783
- U.S. territory that encompassed land that would later become part of the Orleans Territory:
- Louisiana Purchase, 1803–1804
- US states that encompass land that was once part of the Orleans Territory:
- United States Congressional Delegations from Orleans Territory
- "An Act erecting Louisiana into two territories and providing for the temporary government thereof"
- "An Act for the admission of the state of Louisiana into the Union, and to extend the laws of the United States to the said state"
- U.S. District Courts of Louisiana, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- Julien Vernet, Strangers on Their Native Soil: Opposition to United States' Governance in Louisiana's Orleans Territory, 1803-1809. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013.
- The Political Graveyard Secretaries of Orleans Territory