Northwestern Louisiana includes the parishes of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Grant, Jackson, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, Webster, Winn, Vernon parishes. Northwestern Louisiana is home to one of the state’s largest cities, Shreveport, as well as its oldest permanent settlement, Natchitoches. French Canadian Louis Juchereau de St. Denis established Natchitoches in 1714, naming it after a regional Indian tribe. Some of the land in northwestern Louisiana was once part of the “Neutral Strip” established after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Forming a border between Spanish Texas and a newly-American Louisiana, the Neutral Strip provided a buffer between the two countries until firm boundaries were determined in 1821. Several parishes in the central portion of northwestern Louisiana—Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, and Lincoln—are considered part of the “Piney Hills” region, defined by its hilly terrain, dense pine trees, and relatively high elevation.