A Brief History

Several flags have flown over Baton Rouge since its founding:

  • Confederate States of America
  • England
  • France
  • Louisiana
  • Spain
  • United States of America
  • West Florida
Baton Rouge Flag

French Explorers

In 1699, French explorers discovered the area where Baton Rouge is now located. Pierre Le Moyne D'Iberville's writings refer to the area as Istrouma or Red Stick, which when translated into French becomes Baton Rouge. Records of D'Iberville describe large reddened poles erected by Indians with fish and bear heads attached in sacrifice. These may have designated boundaries at a point separating the hunting grounds of the Bayou Goula and the Houma Indian tribes.

In 1718, the French are alleged to have constructed a fort near the area to protect travelers from New Orleans to northern outposts. The Baton Rouge area then belonged to France. The area was transferred to England by the treaty of Paris in 1763. Following this, the settlement was renamed New Richmond.

Spanish Influence

In September of 1779, the Spanish defeated the English at Fort Butte on Bayou Manchac and then captured Baton Rouge, so that by 1781 West Florida, which included the East Baton Rouge area, was under Spanish influence.

West Florida Republic

In 1810, when the Spanish were overthrown by local settlers, approximately 1,000 people resided in the Baton Rouge vicinity. The people declared themselves independent and renamed this area the West Florida Republic. In a few months, the territory was annexed by Louisiana and was divided. At that time, East Baton Rouge Parish was created.

Louisiana was admitted into the Union on April 8, 1812. Baton Rouge was incorporated in 1817; it became the state capital in 1849.

Civil War

For most of the duration of the Civil War, 1861-1865, Baton Rouge was under Union control except for a brief period in 1862. During the war, the capital was relocated several times; however, in 1882 the center of government was returned to Baton Rouge at that time the city had a population of 7,197.


At the turn of the 20th century, the town began to develop industrially due to its strategic location on the first bluff along the Mississippi River north of the Gulf of Mexico.

Baton Rouge Size

Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital city is now 74.74 square miles in size with some 230,000 people. East Baton Rouge Parish population is approximately 412,500 and is 472.1 square miles in size.


The Baton Rouge Flag is a field of crimson representing the great Indian Nations that once inhabited the area. The crest on the lower left uses the red, white and blue representing the colors of the United States. The upper left of the shield is the Fleur-de-lis of France, the upper right is the Castille of Spain, and the lower potion is the Union Jack of Great Britain. The crest encompasses the emblems of the three foreign countries, whose flags have flown over Baton Rouge. The name "Baton Rouge" in white appears prominently on the field of crimson.