Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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United States > Louisiana > East Baton Rouge Parish > Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.


The history of Baton Rouge dates from 1699, when French explorer Sieur d'Iberville leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River, saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with bloody animals that marked the boundary between Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called the pole and its location "le bâton rouge", or the red stick. The local Native American name for the site had been "Istrouma". From evidence found along the Mississippi, Comite, and Amite rivers, and in three Native American mounds remaining in the city, archaeologists have been able to date habitation of the Baton Rouge area to 8000 BC.

The term "red stick' generally referred to "warlike" Indian settlements during the Creek Nation period in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. These "red stick" communities were hostile toward white European settlers encroaching on Indian hunting grounds along the East Coast and into the Mississippi River region. Peaceful settlements were known as "white stick" communities and no aggression was allowed in the limits of these communities. Only the most rogue "red stick" settlements launched hostile actions against "white stick" settlements, but these actions did occur during tribal wars.

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