Rapides Parish is situated in the geographic center of Louisiana and was named for the "rapids" in the nearby Red River. Created in 1807, Rapides is one of the original parishes in Louisiana and with a land area of 1,322.7 square miles, it’s also the second largest parish in the state. Anglo-Saxon settlers began arriving in the early eighteenth century and during these early years, settlers devoted all their attention to cattle raising and consequently were able to export thousands annually. By 1770, interest shifted to cotton production and by the turn of the nineteenth century, many of the great plantations were already constructed. Present-day Rapides still receives substantial revenues from the cotton industry as well as other agricultural pursuits and manufacturing. Chief crops include sugarcane, corn, and soybeans.