Louisiana is divided into sixty-four parishes. On March 31, 1807, the territorial legislature divided the state into 19 parishes, without getting rid of the
old counties (which continued to exist until 1845). In 1811, a constitutional convention organized the state into seven judicial districts, each consisting of groups of
parishes. In 1816, the first official map of the state used the term, as did the 1845 constitution. Since then, the official term has been parishes.
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DeSoto Parish is a parish located in the state of Louisiana. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 26,656. Its seat is Mansfield.
The parish was formed in 1843.
DeSoto Parish is part of the Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Etymology - Origin of DeSoto Parish Name
It is a typical misconception that the parish was named after Hernando de Soto, the Spaniard who explored the future southeastern United
States and discovered and named the Mississippi River. The parish was in fact named after the unrelated Marcel DeSoto, who led the first group
of European settlers there, to a settlement historically known as Bayou Pierre. The parish's name is also commonly misspelled following the
explorer's name as "De Soto Parish," but it is properly spelled following the settler's name as "DeSoto Parish."
De Soto Parish was created on 1843, from Natchitoches and Caddo Parishes and the parish was named in honor of
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. The Parish seat is Mansfield.
The Battle of Mansfield was fought in DeSoto Parish on April 8, 1864. General Alfred Mouton was killed in the fighting, but his position
was carried forward by Prince de Polignac, a native of France. The battle is commemorated at the Mansfield State Historic Site four miles
south of Mansfield off Louisiana Highway 175. The Confederate victory prevented a planned Union invasion thereafter of Texas. Mansfield, also
known as the Battle of Sabine Crossroads, a Confederate victory, occurred with one year and one day left in the duration of the war. Mansfield
was quickly followed by the Battle of Pleasant Hill to the south.
Geography: Land and Water
As reported by the Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 895 square miles (2,320 km2), of which 876 square miles (2,270 km2) is
land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (2.1%) is water.
Bordering parishes and counties are as follows:
North: Caddo Parish
East: Red River Parish
Southeast: Natchitoches Parish; Sabine Parish
Southwest: Shelby County, Tex.
West: Panola County, Tex.
Public schools in DeSoto Parish are operated by the DeSoto Parish School Board.