Daily Almanac for Monday, December 20, 2021; Day 354 of the Year

On this date in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was finalized. This is the map of the United States overlapped with territory bought in the Louisiana Purchase in white. By William Morris CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org


The Louisiana Purchase (FrenchVente de la Louisianelit.‘Sale of Louisiana’) was the acquisition of the territory of Louisiana by the United States from Napoleonic France in 1803. In return for fifteen million dollars, or approximately eighteen dollars per square mile, the United States nominally acquired a total of 828,000 sq mi (2,140,000 km2; 530,000,000 acres). However, France only controlled a small fraction of this area, most of it inhabited by Native Americans; for the majority of the area, what the United States bought was the “preemptive” right to obtain “Indian” lands by treaty or by conquest, to the exclusion of other colonial powers. The total cost of all subsequent treaties and financial settlements over the land has been estimated to be around 2.6 billion dollars.

The Kingdom of France had controlled the Louisiana territory from 1699 until it was ceded to Spain in 1762. In 1800, Napoleon, the First Consul of the French Republicregained ownership of Louisiana as part of a broader project to re-establish a French colonial empire in North America. However, France’s failure to put down a revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to consider selling Louisiana to the United States. Acquisition of Louisiana was a long-term goal of President Thomas Jefferson, who was especially eager to gain control of the crucial Mississippi River port of New Orleans. Jefferson tasked James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston with purchasing New Orleans. Negotiating with French Treasury Minister François Barbé-Marbois (who was acting on behalf of Napoleon), the American representatives quickly agreed to purchase the entire territory of Louisiana after it was offered. Overcoming the opposition of the Federalist Party, Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison persuaded Congress to ratify and fund the Louisiana Purchase.

The Louisiana Purchase extended United States sovereignty across the Mississippi River, nearly doubling the nominal size of the country. The purchase included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, including the entirety of ArkansasMissouriIowaOklahomaKansas, and Nebraska; large portions of North Dakota and South Dakota; the area of MontanaWyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; the northeastern section of New Mexico; northern portions of Texas; New Orleans and the portions of the present state of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River; and small portions of land within Alberta and Saskatchewan. At the time of the purchase, the territory of Louisiana’s non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were enslaved Africans. The western borders of the purchase were later settled by the 1819 Adams–Onís Treaty with Spain, while the northern borders of the purchase were adjusted by the Treaty of 1818 with Britain.


Question of the Day

When making meringue pie, should refrigerated eggs or room temperature eggs be used?Use eggs at room temperature next time you make a meringue pie. Cold eggs cause problems in foam and sponge recipes because, when beaten, they do not increase in volume as much as warm eggs do. In general, all ingredients should be brought to room temperature (between 65 and 70°F) before baking.

Advice of the Day

To prevent seasickness, carry a pouch of roasted salt in your pocket.

Home Hint of the Day

To get any part of your project perfectly vertical, hang a plumb line. A plumb line is a heavy object on a string. When the object is at rest, the string is perfectly vertical. For the most accurate readings, use a tool called a plumb bob.

Word of the Day

AlaskaAlaska’s name comes from an Aleut word meaning “great land.”

Puzzle of the Day

What flowers can be found between the nose and chin?Tulips (two lips)


  • Harvey Samuel Firestone (tire manufacturer) – 1868
  • Irene Dunne (actress) – 1898
  • George Roy Hill (director of film) – 1922
  • Nicole DeBoer (actress) – 1970
  • Jonah Hill (actor) – 1983
  • JoJo (singer) – 1990


  • Bobby Darin (singer) – 1973
  • Arthur Rubenstein (pianist) – 1982
  • Carl Sagan (astronomer) – 1996
  • J. Russell Coffey (oldest known U.S. veteran of World War I) – 2007
  • Robert Mulligan (director) – 2008
  • Brittany Murphy (actress) – 2009
  • Steve Landesberg (actor) – 2010


  • Operation of first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill in U.S. began, Pawtucket, Rhode Island– 1790
  • Louisiana Purchase finalized– 1803
  • Missouri imposed a $1 tax on bachelors– 1820
  • South Carolina seceded from the Union– 1860
  • Name Canadian National Railways” was authorized”– 1918
  • 24-lb. 8-oz. horse-eye jack caught, Miami, Florida– 1982
  • California angler caught 230-pound Nile perch in Lake Nasser, Egypt– 2000


  • Temperatures in central Illinois dropped from 40 to 0 degrees F in a sudden cold snap that was said to freeze chickens in their tracks– 1836
  • Snowstorm began in Denver, Colorado, that delivered up to 30 inches of snow– 2006

COURTESY www.almanac.com

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