Baton Rouge, city, capital of Louisiana, U.S., and seat (1811) of East Baton Rouge parish. Baton Rouge is a port situated at the head of deepwater navigation on the Mississippi River, in the southeast-central part of the state. The French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville visited the area in 1699 and observed a red cypress post (baton rouge) that marked a boundary between the Houma and Bayougoula Indians. The French built and garrisoned a fort on the site in 1719 and named it for the post. The area was ceded to Britain in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian War. During the American Revolution, the Spanish overpowered the British garrison there on September 21, 1779, and controlled the region for the next 20 years.
Baton Rouge is the middle ground of South Louisiana cultures, having a mix of Cajun and Creole Catholics and Baptistsof the Florida Parishes and South Mississippi. Baton Rouge is a college city with Baton Rouge Community College, Louisiana State University, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, and Southern University, whose students make up some 20% of the city population. In a sizable international population of about 11,300, the largest groups are people of Hispanic and Latino or Vietnamese descent. This contributes to Baton Rouge’s unique culture and diversity.
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