In 1803, Louisiana was sold by France to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The purchase doubled the size of the United States at the time.
West Feliciana Parish, located in the southeastern region of Louisiana, has a rich and varied history dating back to its early days of settlement. The area that is now West Feliciana was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Choctaw and Houma peoples. European exploration and colonization began in the 18th century, when the French established settlements in the region.

In the early 1800s, the area became part of Spanish Louisiana, then returned to French control briefly before being sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1824, West Feliciana Parish was officially established, named after the Spanish Governor Feliciana de Baton Rouge. The parish served as a center for agriculture, particularly cotton and sugarcane cultivation, with many large plantations operating in the area using enslaved labor.

During the Civil War, West Feliciana Parish played a significant role. In 1863, the Battle of Port Hudson took place nearby, where Union forces sought to seize control of the Mississippi River. The Confederates fiercely defended the area, but ultimately lost the battle and control of Port Hudson.

After the war, the economy of West Feliciana shifted from agriculture to timber and logging. The parish also became a popular tourist destination, particularly for its beautiful natural landscapes and historic architecture. Today, West Feliciana Parish continues to thrive as a vibrant community, boasting a mix of historical charm, scenic beauty, and economic diversity.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.

  • 1806: West Feliciana Parish established by the Louisiana legislature.
  • 1824: Construction of Rosedown Plantation begins.
  • 1850: The parish becomes the fifth wealthiest in the United States due to the successful cotton industry.
  • 1863: Battle of Port Hudson occurs during the Civil War.
  • 1870s: Timber industry booms as vast forests in the parish are harvested.
  • 1901: Construction of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola Prison, begins.
  • 1930: Completion of the Old Courthouse and Bank building in St. Francisville.
  • 1968: The Audubon Pilgrimage, an annual event celebrating the parish's history, is established.
  • 1989: West Feliciana Historical Society opens the West Feliciana Historical Museum.