France entered the European explorations of the New World in the 16th Century. It was not until April 9, 1682, however, that Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle “erected a cross and column near the mouth of the Mississippi and solemnly read a declaration to a group of bemused Indians,” claimed the entire Mississippi River Basin for France. He named the region in honor of Louis XIV, the French King who ruled for more than seventy-two years, expelled Protestants from France, and started multiple wars in Europe. In 1718 another nobleman-explorer, Jean-Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville founded New Orleans. Louis XIV gave the territory to his Bourbon cousin Charles III of Spain in 1763, which laid the stamp of Spain on the architecture and culture. In 1802, Napoleon secretly negotiated a treaty to re-acquire Louisiana for France once again, which Charles exchanged for a small kingdom in northern Italy that he wanted for his daughter Louisetta. That obscure deal set in motion a chain of providential events that eventually led to American hegemony over the entire continent.