United States has done a great job of acquiring land: Alaska, Louisiana, and more! See how much money it has made.

Geoffrey Greer

Land grabs are money grabs.

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The United States has purchased well over 1,000,000 square miles of land over its history. That's more than a quarter of the country.

And it has made a pretty penny off these purchases, often buying them for a fraction of what they are worth today.

Here are some of the major acquisitions the United States has made and how much that would be in 2021 dollars.

  • Louisiana Purchase: Bought in 1803 for $15 million that would be only $346 million today. That's a bargain by today's real estate standards.
  • Florida: Bought in 1819 for $5 million that is $103M in 2021 dollars. There are houses in Miami that cost that much.
  • Mexican Cession: This included the "top part" of Mexico. That's most of Arizona and New Mexico and pieces of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. Bought for $15M in 1848 that would be just $495M today. Notice that the early 19th century was a deflationary period so the value of money went up instead of down!
  • Gadsden Purchase: In 1853 the USA purchased this property from Mexico for $10M. That is $338M in today's dollars. This land was later added to Arizona and New Mexico.
  • Alaska: Bought for $7.2 million in 1867 this is one of the greatest steals of all time. The U.S. bought it before oil was discovered there. Oil was the most important commodity of the 20th century. The $7.2M purchase price would be worth $127M today.

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