Site #1 Begin on the River. From the foot of Government, walk south to the staute of Iberville. 
In 1700, this region was home to the native Mobilian and Tohomes tribes. The area known as "Mobile" was first settled by Europeans in 1702 by Pierre LeMoyne de Iberville, soldier and explorer for the French. This became the capital from which Iberville and his Brother Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, controlled all of the Louisiana Territory for the next 15 years. 


Just before his death in 1706, Iberville fought to establish French authority in the Caribbean and died in Havana, where a statue now stands in his honor, looking out toward Mobile, just as the statue of Iberville standing here looks out in turn toward Havana. 

While the LeMoyne brothers held power, French, African and Caribbean culture spread across the Gulf Coast. The British and Spanish ruled this territory in the late eighteenth century as well, contributing to the unique Creole flavor that came to dominate the region. 

By the early 1800's, due to the growth of the cotton industry coupled with new developments in steam travel, a new generation of American merchants from the industrialized northeast migrated toward the Deep South. The mystic parades, tableaux and balls originating among them eventually merged with the European custom of celebrating Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," the last day before the season of Lent. From the festive customs of these diverse cultures, the American Mardi Gras tradition was born in Mobile. 

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