New Orleans: Established in 1718 as a French colonial settlement and port, New Orleans by 1812 was one of the most important ports in the United States, as it was essential for exporting goods in and out of the Mississippi Valley.
Whereas the city's population stood at 10,000 at the time of statehood, the economic opportunity within the city drew Americans and European immigrants in great numbers so that by 1840 the population stood at 102,000.
Between 1810 and 1840 the city grew to be the fourth largest in the U.S., and the largest in the South. Today, it remains one of the country’s busiest and most important ports and one of the nation's most distinctive cities for its food, music, architecture and Carnival celebrations.
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