Mysore Palace


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Mysore Palace
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Mysore Palace

A Palace without a King at the moment

Mysore has a number of historic palaces, and is commonly described as the City of Palaces. However, the term "Mysore Palace" specifically refers to one within the old fort. The palace was commissioned in 1897, and its construction was completed in 1912. It is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in Mysore. Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace.

The architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden.
The three storied stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes was designed by Henry Irwin. The facade has seven expansive arches and two smaller ones flanking the central arch, which is supported by tall pillars.
Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck, and abundance with her elephants.

Chivalry and romance are associated with the emergence of the Yadu or Wadiyar dynasty, who ruled from Mysore from 14th century onwards for nearly six centuries. As one enters the Eastern gate of the Mysore Palace, one can spot a small temple dedicated to Kodi Bhyraveswara. This temple is of historical significance as it saw the emergence of the Wadiyar dynasty. In this temple, a dramatic turn of events took place way back in the year 1399 A.D.

As the story goes, two young men, Vijaya and Krishna of the Yadu dynasty hailing from Dwaraka in Gujarat came to Mysore, after visiting Melkote on their pilgrimage. The two royal princes took shelter at the Kodi Bhyraveswara Temple, which was close to the Doddakere, from where people of then small city of Mysore fetched water for drinking and daily chore. At dawn, they heard some women, while washing closes discussing the distress situation of the young Princess Devajammanni. The death of her father, Chamaraja, the local ruler, had landed her and her mother, the queen, in trouble. Taking advantage of the situation, the neighbouring Chief of Karugahalli, Maranayaka, began demanding the kingdom and the princess in marriage. Taking the help of a Jangama Odeya, a Shaivite religious man, the two chivalrous brothers came to the rescue of the distressed Maharani and the Princess. Mobilising troops, they killed the Karugahalli Chief and his men and saved the Mysore royal family and their kingdom. A happy princess married the elder brother, Vijaya, and he became the first ruler of the Yadu dynasty. He assumed the name Yaduraya. Thus the traditional founding of the Wadiyar dynasty took place in 1399 with Yaduraya. Since then, 24 rulers have succeeded in the dynasty, the last being Jayachamaraja Wadiyar. It is during his period, India won freedom and later monarchy was abolished. With that ended the reign of the Mysore Maharajas. Yaduraya ruled from 1399 to 1423. Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar (1423-1459), Thimmaraja Wadiyar (1459-1478) and Hiriya Chamaraja Wadiyar (1478-1513) succeeded him. Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar II (1513-1553) became the fifth ruler. Thimmaraja Wadiyar (1553-1572) succeeded him and he defeated some neighbouring chieftains and expanded his boundary. The next ruler, Bola Chamaraja Wadiyar (1572-1576) was called ‘Bola’ or ‘Bald’ because while he was visiting the Chamundi Hills to worship the Goddess, a lightning struck and he lost all his hairs. After him, Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar III (1576-1578) ruled for a brief period of about two years.

The next ruler, Raja Wadiyar (1578-1617), emerges as the first powerful ruler in the Mysore royal family. Till his emergence, Mysore was a small feudatory kingdom under the Vijayanagar Kingdom. The Mysore chieftains owed allegiance to the Vijayanagar kings and the Vijayanagar representative at Srirangapatna. Taking advantage of the fall of Vijayanagar kingdom in 1565 A.D., Raja Wadiyar defeated the Vijayanagar representative in a battle at Kesare near Mysore, shifted his capital from Mysore to Srirangapatna in 1610 and acquire the famous throne and ascended it. However, he continued the traditions of Vijayanagar and revived the famous Dasara festival, celebrating it for the first time in Srirangapatna with pomp and grandeur. After Chamaraja Wadiyar (1617-1637) and Raja Wadiyar II (1637-1638), the next powerful ruler to ascend the throne of Mysore was Ranadhira Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar (1638-1659). A courageous ruler, he successfully fought back the efforts of Bijapur Badsha to acquire Srirangapanta twice, fortified the Srirangapatna and Mysore forts with arms and weapons, and began minting coins with his seals. Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar (1659-1673), who ruled next, further expanded the kingdom by acquiring areas of Keladi Shivappa Naika and Palegars of Madurai and Thiruchinapalli.

Chikka Devaraja Wadiyar (1673-1704) emerges as the next celebrated ruler. Besides further expanding the kingdom and strengthening the forts, he introduced modern administration with a lot of reforms in his vastly expanded kingdom. He appointed staff for specific jobs, fixed wages for different works, built several canals to provide water for irrigation, introduced weights and measures and also postal system, imposed taxes to improve revenue, constructed storehouses to store produces, and set up 18 departments (Chavadis) in the administration. During his 31 years of reign, Mysore saw peak of its glory. Kannada literature flourished under him, the Maharaja himself making significant contribution. Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar (1704-1714), Dodda Krishnaraja Wadiyar (1714-1732) and Chamaraja Wadiyar (1732-1734) succeeded Chikka Devaraja. It was during the reign of Krishnaraja Wadiyar II (1734-1766), Hyder Ali Khan and his celebrated son Tipu Sultan became the virtual rulers of Mysore. They were in total command till 1799 when the British Army killed Tipu in the 4th Mysore War in Srirangapatna. Nanjaraja Wadiyar (1766-1770), Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar (1770-1776) and Khasa Chamaraja Wadiyar (1776-1796) continued as rulers in the Mysore dynasty during the interregnum. With the death of Tipu, the capital was shifted back to Mysore. Five-year-old Prince Krishnaraja Wadiyar III was installed on the throne of Mysore in 1799. He ruled till 1868. He revived the Dasara celebrations on a grand scale in Mysore. The old Mysore Palace was rebuilt. During his period, steps began to be initiated for developing Mysore into a modern township. New Agraharas and temples were built outside the Palace Fort. Kannada literature saw a new dimension.
Krishnaraja Wadiyar was the longest ruler and Chamaraja Wadiyar, during whose period Mysore saw further progress on modern lines, succeeded him. Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV became the 24th ruler of Mysore in 1895. His mother, Maharani Kempananjammanni of Vanivilasa Sanndihana was Regent during his minority from1895-1902.
The 38-year rule of the Maharaja saw an all-round progress in his State, including Mysore. Ably assisted by two Dewans, Sir M.Visvesvaraya and Sir Mirza Ismail, Mysore emerged as a modern city and State. It earned the encomium ‘Ramarajya’. After his death in 1940, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar became the 25th and the last ruler of the Mysore royal family.

Special events
Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, during which leading artists perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds.
Dasara is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. The Dasara festival is celebrated in the months of September and October of each year.
The festival celebrates and commemorates the victory of the great goddess Durga, after she slew the demon, Mahishasura, and thereby, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil according to Hindu mythology. Some call her Chamundeshwari.
This festival has been celebrated by the Wadiyars at Srirangapatna from 1610 and in Mysore with great pomp from 1799 and the tradition still is carried on although the scale of the celebrations has diminished. The Dasara festivities have become an integral part of the culture and life in Mysore.
To celebrate this festival the Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 96,000 lights during that two month period.

Unique rooms
Public Durbar Hall
Visitors will first see imported French lamp stands in the corner representing Egyptian figurines, just before entering the Durbar Hall there is a life size statue of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. This plaster of Paris sculpture is the creation of B.Basavaiah, Palace artist, near him is the cut-out photograph of his favorite servant, Jamedar Peer Bait.

King would host major ceremonial gatherings in this hall. Cool marble floor, through colonnades of cusped arches supported by intricate and elaborately painted columns. Row upon row, creating an illusion of infinite corridors. Paintings decorate the walls on the right. There are images of gods, portraits of royal family and scenes form the great epic the Ramayana each painting has its own uniquely carved frame, each one perfectly created to suite its own niche. Large mirrors on the far walls offer multiple reflections of whatever scene is unfolding amidst the never-ending columns, paintings, gods, temples and city skyline.

Private Durbar or Ambavilasa Palace
This was used by the king for private audience and is one of the most spectacular rooms. Entry to this opulent hall is through an elegantly carved rosewood doorway inlaid with ivory that opens into a shrine to Ganesha. The central nave of the hall has ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones.

Gombe Thotti (Doll’s Pavilion)
Entry to the palace is through the Gombe Thotti or the Doll’s Pavilion, a gallery of traditional dolls from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pavilion also houses a fine collection of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects like a wooden elephant howdah (frame to carry passengers) decorated with 84 kilograms of gold.

Kalyana Mantapa
Octagonal shaped hall where all royal weddings, birthdays and ceremonial functions were celebrated. Dome supported by clusters of pillars are of cast iron. There are 26 paintings which depict Dasara procession. There also four other subjects such as the birthday procession of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, Durga Pooja or Ayudha Pooja on the south wall of the Kalyanamantapa, the car festival of Goddess Chamundeshwari and the celebration of Krishna Janmastami on the western corridor. The painting representing Dasara festivities are based on actual photographs and executed during the years between 1934 and 1945.

The stained-glass ceiling soars heavenward – a rich tapestry of peacock motifs and floral mandalas held in place by metal beams. The design of the glass and framework was created by the artists of Mysore and manufactured by famous walter McFarlance Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Majestic chandelier, hangs low from the centre of the tall dome, the peacock design is reflected in the mosaic tiles on the floor.

Outside columns carvings with scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana the two great Hindu epics of Ancient India. Electricity came to Mysore in 1906. Palace was completed in 1912. There’s been electricity since the first day the royal family moved in.

Portrait Gallery
Many valuable paintings as well as the Photographs of the Royal Family are exhibited in the portrait gallery on the southern part of the Kalyana Mantapa. Wadiyar dynasty paintings and photographs are on display. Portrait of Krishnaraja Wadiyar the fourth, was a king with great vision and an extraordinarily generous patron of arts. Also the first Wadiyar ruler to live in this palace. Portrait of black and white image of Jayacharamajra Wadiyar’s wedding to a Jaipur princess. The nuptials took place in the Marriage hall with the bountiful wedding feast lavishly laid out on the tables in the foreground. Painting of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV just one year old, sits on pram with his two older sisters. The portrait gallery is proud to exhibit two works of the famous Royal Artist Raja Ravivarma dated in 1885.

When the Mysore kings visit various parts of the state, their subjects received them with the greatest respect. They often had many requests, these would be formally submitted in small silver and sweet-smelling sandalwood caskets. Additionally they would present the kings with mementoes of their visit in these boxes.

Sandalwood is one of the earliest items of trade, and its oil has been used in perfumes for over 4000 years. Sandalwood is believed to be scented by the gods. Its sacred properties mean its traditionally used to carve images of deities and create prayer beads. Seventy per cent of Indian sandalwood comes from the tropical forests of Karnataka and a diminishing resource.

Temples inside Mysore Palace Fort

Kodi Bharravasvami Temple – dedicated to Shiva in the form of Bhairava derives its name because of its location in the past.

Sri Lakshmiramana Swami Temple – Oldest temple in the city. Located towards the western part of the fort, inside the Palace. An inscription found in Cole’s Gardens (present day Bannimantap) registers a Grant for God Lakshmiramana in 1499 AD. According to the annals of the Mysore Royal Family, a half blind Brahim was cured his blindness around the year 1599 at the interposition of Raja Wadiyar. The temple is also important as all the religious ceremonies in connection with coronation of child Raja Krishnaraja Wadiyar III were held in this temple on June 30, 1799.

Sri Shweta Varahaswamy Temple – located beside the south gate. It’s constructed in the famous style of the great Hoysala Empire, which controlled most of Karnataka from the tenth until the fourteenth centuries.

Sri Trinayaneshvara Swami Temple – Ancient temple which existed even before the time of Raja Wadiyar, located outside the Original Mysore fort, on the bank of Devaraya Sagar (Doddakere). It was during the time of Kanthirava Narasaraja Wadiyar and his successor Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar that the fort was enlarged and the Trinayaneshvara temple came within the fort.

Sri Prasanna Krishanswami temple – The Mysore dynasty claims its descent from Yadu Vamsa (Yadu Race) founded by Sri Krishna of Mahabharata. Therefore, Krishnaraja Wadiyar III felt sad that there was no temple dedicated to Krishna. To fulfil this lacuna, he started the construction of Sri Prasanna Krishna Temple in 1825 and according to inscription, it was completed in 1829.

Kille Venkatramana Swamy Temple – During the time of Tipu, the Mysore family was still in Srirangapatna. Queen Lakshmammanni, wife of Krishnaraja Wadiyar II was deeply worried about the dynasty and its future. Then lord Venkataramana is said to have appeared in her dream, and directed her that his statue which is in Balamuri should be consecrated in Mysore. By this pious act, her dynasty would get salvation. She therefore, proceeded to Balamuri without the knowledge of the Sultan and brought the image of Venkataramana, consecrated it in the temple, and offered continuous worship. This is said to have helped the family and after the fall of Tippu, the Kingdom was restored to the Wadiyar dynasty.

Sri Bhuvaneshwari Temple – located on northern side of the Palace Fort corresponding to the Varahaswamy temple in the south, thus providing a symmetrical structure in the fort complex. Constructed by Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar in the year 1951. One of the important objects in the temple is a copper Surya Mandala which is said to have been transferred from the Palace to this temple by His Highness Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar.

Sri Gayatri Temple – located in the south-east corner of the fort directly corresponding to the Trinayaneshara swamy temple constructed by Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar in 1953. Three shrines dedicated to Savithri, Gayathri and Saraswathi.

Wadiyar dynasty
The Wadiyar dynasty (also spelt Wadiyar by the British) was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947, until the independence of India from British rule and the subsequent unification of Indian dominion and princely states into the Republic of India.

The spelling Wodeyar / Wadiyar is found in most records and is used by the royal family members themselves. The spelling by modern transliteration rules from Kannada is Odeyar the word Wadiyar is a surname of a community in South India who are from the Potters community. Now also you can see the six feet Potters wheel, stick, etc., which is fully made of the pure Gold, in the Mysore palace. The word is pronounced to start with a vowel sound and not with the consonant as present in the English spelling. Odeyar in Kannada means the king or the owner.

The dynasty was established by Vijaya, Vijaya took on the name and ruled Mysore, then a small town, from 1399 CE to 1423 CE. The Wadiyars of Vijaya’s dynasty belong to the ArasuWadiyar community of Karnataka, which includes many of the noble clans of the region.

The Mysore kingdom was ruled by a succession of Wadiyar rulers for the next couple of centuries. However, the kingdom remained fairly small during this early period and was a part of the Vijayanagara Empire. Later, after the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, the Kingdom of Mysore became independent and remained so until 1799. The Kingdom of Mysore came under the British during the reign of King Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799-1868). His successors changed the English spelling of their royal name to Wadiyar, and took the title of Bahadur. The last two monarchs also accepted the British decoration G.B.E

The Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated in 1565. The power vacuum created soon after was utilized by Raja Wadiyar, who ruled Mysore from 1578 to 1617. He expanded the borders of the Mysore kingdom and also shifted the capital from the city of Mysore in 1610 to Srirangapatna, a rare island formed by the river Cauvery , which provided natural protection against military attacks.

Subsequent famous rulers of the dynasty include Kanthirava Narasaraja I (ruled 1638-1659) who expanded the frontiers of the Mysore Kingdom to Trichy in Tamil Nadu. The dynasty reached its peak under Chikka Devaraja (ruled 1673-1704), who widely reformed the administration of the empire by dividing it into 18 departments (called Chavadis) and also introduced a coherent system of taxation.

Wadiyar Rulers of Mysore

Adi Yaduraya (1399–1423)

Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar I (1423–1459)

Thimma Raja Wadiyar I (1459–1478)

Hiriya Chamarajarasa Wadiyar II (1478–1513)

Hiriya bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar III (1513–1553)

Thimma Raja Wadiyar II (1553–1572)

Boala Chamaraja Wadiyar IV (1572–1576)

Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar V (1576–1578)

Raja Wadiyar I (1578–1617)

Chamarajarasa Wadiyar VI (1617–1637)

Raja Wadiyar II (1637–1638)

Ranadheera Kanteerava Narasaraja Wadiyar I (1638–1659)

Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar (1659–1673)

Chikka Devaraja Wadiyar (1613–1704)

Kanteerava Majaraja Wadiyar (1704–1714)

Dodda Krishnaraja Wadiyar I (1714–1732)

Chamaraja Wadiyar VII (1732–1734)

(Immadi) Krishnaraja Wadiyar II (1734–1766)

Nanaja Raja Wadiyar (1766–1770)

Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar VIII (1770–1776)

Khasa Chamaraja Wadiyar IX (1766–1796)

(Mummudi) Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799–1868)

Chamaraja Wadiyar X (1868–1894)

Vani Vilas Sannidhana, queen of Chamaraja Wadiyar X, was Regent from 1894–1902.

(Nalvadi) Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (1902–1940)

Sri Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar XI (1940 – 1947)

Rajpramukh of Mysore state, (1950–1956)

Governor of Mysore state (present-day Karnataka), (1956–1964)

Governor of Madras State (present-day Tamil Nadu), (1964–1966)

De-recognized as Maharaja of Mysore by the 26Th Amendment to the constitution in 1971. Died on 23-9-1974.

Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar, (b-1953, ascended the throne in 1974- though a private affair until 10th December 2013.

No successor has been appointed yet .

EXIF details – Shutter 1/320, Aperture f/20, ISO 500, Focal Length , 70 mm . Equipment – Nikon D4s , Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8g VR .

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Some geography of New Orleans. The location and geography of New Orleans is unique in America. Most of the city is well below sea level, except for the French Quarter which was built on a natural levee of the river in the 1700s. As the city has expanded special levees, pumps and flood gates have been erected around the city. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 the storm itself did damage to New Orleans but the major devastation came from the levees failing and water flooding at least 80% of the city area. It is useful to remember that 50% of New Orleans city is water and not land! Its location on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, near the delta bayous and swamps was the raison d’être for the city. It was to control all navigation and commercial activity on the river and to provide a safe harbour as close as possible to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of its strategic location it has always been the prize for invaders during wars. The city has a tropical climate and the regions north of the city along the banks of the Mississippi were and are major sugar plantation areas, not cotton plantation areas. You have to travel upstate in Louisiana to find the cotton growing areas. This tropical climate along one of the world’s major water courses meant until recently that the area was plagued with Yellow Fever, malaria and other deadly illnesses. To the north and east of the city is Lake Pontchartrain, a huge body of water; in fact the city is bordered by water on three sides. By road the mouth of the Mississippi is over 100 miles away but this is because the river follows a circuitous route to the mouth of its delta. The city metropolitan area has a population of 1.1 million, exactly the same as the population of Adelaide. Although the population fell after Hurricane Katrina the population is now 90% of what is was before the hurricane. There is little evidence of flood damage in the areas that we will see as tourists. The French Quarter was not flooded because the founding French settlers sensibly chose a high site for their city.

Some early history of New Orleans. The city was founded in 1718 by the French Mississippi Company, a major trader in furs bought from the Indians up river. They got the local Indians, the Chitimacha to cede land to them. The Company named the city after the Duke of Orleans who was the Regent of France at that time. After the French Wars between the Indians, British, French and Spanish in America from 1756-63 the French ceded New Orleans to the Spanish. The Spanish held New Orleans from 1763 to 1801 when Napoleon defeated the Spanish and New Orleans and its territories to the west were returned to France. As Napoleon needed more funds to continue his Napoleonic Wars with Britain and others he soon (in 1803) sold New Orleans and all territories west of the Mississippi to President Jefferson for the small sum of million. West Florida, New Orleans and the west comprised over 800,000 square miles! The Louisiana Purchase covered – Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nth & Sth Dakota, Oklahoma & parts of Texas and Wyoming.

When the French settled New Orleans they built a trading port city of wooden buildings on the high ground along the banks of the Mississippi. The streets were named after the royal houses of France and Catholic saints, hence Bourbon Street after the Dukes of Bourbon, not the whisky. Local pine was the timber used for building the houses, often on brick pylons to raise the houses above any possible flood threat. The compact town was destroyed by two major fires during the Spanish ownership of Louisiana in 1788 and again in 1794. The city was rebuilt in brick, with wrought iron balconies in the Spanish style usually with central courtyards. So most of what we see today in the French Quarter or Vieux Carré is actually of Spanish design and from the era of Spanish building in the late 1790s. So the French Quarter is really the Spanish Quarter and the Spanish buildings include the three major public buildings of this era- the Cathedral of St. Louis, and the adjoining Cabildo and Presbytere. The first St. Louis Cathedral was built in 1781; the second in 1725; and the third in 1789. That third structure in Spanish style was almost totally rebuilt in 1850 in the style of the previous cathedral.

The Strategic Importance of New Orleans. Not long after the Americans bought New Orleans a major war broke out between England and her former American colonies. War raged from 1812-14 when the British, amongst other achievements, sailed up the Potomac River in Washington and burnt down the White House and attacked the national capital. As the port that controlled the Mississippi and the river system that went up to the British colonies in Canada the British wanted to retake New Orleans. A young American officer, Andrew Jackson (later President Andrew Jackson) led the American forces in a battle with the British. The battle of New Orleans (remember the hit song about it in 1959?) took place in January 1815. It was the final battle of the War of 1812 and despite bad odds Andrew Jackson and the Americans prevailed and won the battle. Hence the main square in New Orleans is Jackson Square with a fine statue of the later President on horseback is in the centre of the square. And again during the Civil War both the Confederates and Unionists wanted to control New Orleans. During the Antebellum period New Orleans had been a major port for the slave trade and the major slave auction centre of the American South. Louisiana declared their secession from the Union in January 1861 and the Confederates bolstered their occupation of the area. It was the link to the South’s cotton plantations up the Mississippi River Valley and its link across the Mississippi to the wealthy states of Texas, Arkansas and some secessionist counties of Missouri. The first shots were fired at Fort Sumter in April 1861. New Orleans was blockaded by the North in May 1861 showing what an important prize the city was to the Union. After two short battles in April 1862 the Union forces occupied New Orleans and split the Confederacy into two parts as it then controlled the Mississippi River too.

The Creole Culture of New Orleans. Creole culture in Louisiana is still strong. Creoles are primarily the people descended from the early French and Spanish settlers mixed with later German immigrants and African slaves. Creoles were originally white Europeans but the term later included mixed race people. When the Haitian Revolution led by slaves erupted in 1804 many French residents fled from Haiti to New Orleans with their African slaves. They reinforced the French culture of New Orleans and established their three tiered society of white Creoles, mixed race Creoles and black slaves. The mixed race Creoles were mainly fee black people and added to the free black population of New Orleans. French speakers dominated in New Orleans until 1830. But as late as 1900, 25% of residents spoke French and 75% could understand it. (250,000 Louisianans still speak French at home today.) Half the schools in New Orleans taught in French until the Civil War. In 1862 the Union occupier of the city General Butler abolished French instruction and enforced English teaching. The War made New Orleans an American city. But the Creoles did not disappear. They continued to dominate society for some time. The Creole planters along the Mississippi lived on their plantations during the hot malaria filled summers but moved to their French Quarter town houses for the cool winters. (It was the reverse in Charleston where the planters lived in Charleston in the hot summers and spent winters on their plantations.) The New Orleans winter was the time for balls and parties and the celebrations around Lent and the Mardi Gras activities, which still persist as a reminder of the French heritage of the city. The white French Creoles also often took black slave women as mistresses but unlike the white Americans they tended to give freedom to the children born from these unions. Thus New Orleans ended up with the largest number of free blacks of any Southern city in the Antebellum days. Mixed race Creoles had their own society balls and functions. Many had property and were quite wealthy in their own rights because of grants from their white Creole fathers. But their access to political and legal rights disappeared during the Jim Crow era as white Americans applied their white-black caste system on all parts of America including Louisiana. Free persons of colour were discriminated against by the Jim Crow regulations and segregation in New Orleans too. Change came with of the Civil Rights era.


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