On this day in 1812, the State of Louisiana officially joined the United States of America as our 18th state.  But what's the story behind Louisiana's bicentennial?

Well, Louisiana went through a lot of different owners before finally settling down with the good ol' U.S. of A.  First a French territory, then a Spanish one -- and then a French one yet again! -- Louisiana has one of the richest histories of any state.

Louisiana was first picked up by the U.S. for a pretty good price in 1803 as Napoleon tried to raise funds for his wars in Europe.  The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the U.S.'s size, but according to federal laws, Louisiana couldn't yet become at state.  Territories needed 60,000 residents before they could be considered, and Louisiana was still somewhere in the 30,ooo's.  On top of that, since most Louisianians didn't even speak English, some people we're so sure they even wanted Louisiana.  We didn't cross the 60,000-resident mark until after 1810.

Finally in 1811, Democratic President James Madison signed the bill allowing the people of Louisiana to form a state constitution. Following the state constitutional convention in New Orleans where 43 American and Creole leaders convened, on April 14, 1812, President Madison signed the bill approving statehood. The bill designated April 30, 1812, as the day of formal admission.