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Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has been governed by France, Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Republic of West Florida, the Confederate States, and the United States.

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The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the tenth largest in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships.

The Baton Rouge area owes its historical importance to its strategic site upon the Istrouma Bluff, the first natural bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta.

At the time, the region appeared to be occupied by a collection of moderately-sized native chiefdoms interspersed with autonomous villages and tribal groups.

There is, however, also evidence that these societies were thriving at the time of the first Spanish contact, and that later Spanish expeditions encountered the aftermath of the diseases spread unknowingly by the first expedition.

It has been described as the "most distinguished example of Gothic Revival" architecture in the state and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

By the outbreak of the Civil War, the population of Baton Rouge was nearly 5,500.

The Proto-Muskogean language divided into its descendant languages by about 1000 BC; a cultural boundary between either side of Mobile Bay and the Black Warrior River began to appear between about 1200 BC and 500 BC, a period called the Middle "Gulf Formational Stage".

The Eastern Muskogean language began to diversify internally in the first half of the 1st millennium AD.

The early Muskogean societies were the bearers of the Mississippian culture, which formed around AD 800 and extended in a vast network across the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, with numerous chiefdoms in the Southeast as well.

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