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Every year roughly 25 million people queue up at Six Flags amusement parks across North America to test their nerve against death-defying roller coasters and scream at the splashdown in plunging water flumes. With all the excitement afoot few of the thrill-seekers bother themselves with the oddly vexillological origin of the fun centers. But the Six Flags name is grounded in very real history, which when dissected, encapsulates about 400 years of early American settlement.
[[File:Pavillon_royal_de_France.png|thumbnail|left|250px|Flag of French Royal Family]]
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, explored around the Great Lakes in the 1600s, pushing westward and establishing forts for New France. In actuality, he never stopped looking for a quick passage to China. LaSalle claimed Louisiana for the French in 1682 and launched an expedition on July 24, 1684, to establish a French colony on the Gulf of New Mexico. His men constructed Fort Saint Louis on what is today Victoria County in Texas and raised the Bourbon royal standard of the Kingdom of France. LaSalle would also die on future Texas soil in 1687 when he was murdered during a mutiny. The colony collapsed shortly thereafter. <ref>Weddle, Robert S., “La Salle's Texas Settlement,” Handbook of Texas Online published by the Texas State Historical Association, October 30, 2011.</ref>
In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte won portions of northern Texas as part of his beat-down of Spain in the Napoleonic Wars. But there was hardly time to ship famous French Tricolours to the region before Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to Thomas Jefferson for 68,000,000 francs or about five cents per acre. <ref>“The Louisiana Purchase," ''Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Museum Gazette'', National Park Service, December 1991</ref>