Today a real estate chain reaction continued.
The Seven Years’ War could be considered WW.5, as it involved most of the great powers in a huge conflagration that changed the lives of millions. When it was settled at the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Britain was the big winner; it grabbed much of the Louisiana territory from France, though the French had secretly ceded a hunk of it to their ally Spain (Louis’ cousin was its king). Nobody really knew how far the territory extended past New Orleans and the Mississippi river, and once Britain exhausted itself in subsequent sparring the France/et al (and its recalcitrant American colonies), there were no people or resources available to define the turf, let alone settle or manage it. So the French and Spanish, and the Indians they gradually displaced, continued to live the way they’d lived before the war’s settlement.
Enter the 19th century and a Napoleon Bonaparte who was plotting to model the world on the Roman Empire. Spain was again his likely ally against the British (more familial relations). On this day in 1800, the two nations signed the Treaty of San Ildefonso which gave Napoleon the Louisiana France had relinquished in 1763 in exchange for granting the son of Ferdinand I his own little kingdom (Tuscany) and payment of six 74-gun warships. It would be less than three years later that Napoleon would flip his purchase in a sale to the United States, as war with Britain was imminent (what would be the War of the Third Coalition) and he didn’t have the resources to defend his property and attack Britain at the same time. He earned 60 million francs, which were immediately put to use financing an invasion of Britain that never materialized. The Spanish duke’s son never took the throne of Etruria, which included Tuscany and existed for only 6 years. The indigenous Indians never made a cent. And hundreds of thousands of peasants would lose their lives fighting for one side or another until Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena in 1815.
The U.S. got land that would become 15 states. For being the last buyer in the transaction, it ended up with the best deal.