Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana and a major center of the chemical and petroleum industries. Located the eastern banks of the Mississippi 80 miles upstream from New Orleans, it is one of the nation's busiest inland ports.
The city was first settled 1719 by French soldiers who established a fort here. They called the place Baton Rouge – or "red stick" – in reference to a red-stained pole which marked the boundaries of two Indian nations. Baton Rouge was made the capital of Louisiana in 1849, and the 460-foot Louisiana State Capitol is the tallest state capitol building in the nation.
The city experienced rapid growth after 1900 with the discovery of oil and natural gas nearby. The seat of East Baton Rouge Parish, Baton Rouge is the home of Louisiana State University as well as Southern University.