Thomas Jefferson payed $15 million in 1803 to acquire the French territory of Louisiana, 529,911,680 acres that included far more than just the current U.S. State of Louisiana. The Louisiana Purchase, as it has come to be called, included all or parts of the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. In fact, the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase makes up over one-fourth of the entire territory of the continental United States!
Thomas Jefferson was the first U.S. President to shake hands instead of bow, the first U.S. President to have a grandchild born in the White House, and the first U.S. President to be inaugurated in Washington D.C. He was also the first U.S. President to have previously served as a governor. (Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781.)
According to some reports, Thomas Jefferson fathered several children with one of his slaves, a woman named Sally Hemings who served as chambermaid, seamstress, and nursemaid to Jefferson's children. Although Jefferson's family strongly denied the accuracy of such rumors, several of Jefferson's close friends believed them to be true. After years of conjecture, a DNA test was finally conducted in 1998, comparing DNA samples from male-line descendents of Field Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson's uncle) and Eston Hemings (one of Sally Hemings' children). The results proved that an individual carrying the male Jefferson Y chromosome had indeed fathered Eston Hemings. Although there were approximately 25 individuals living in Virginia at the time of Eston's birth who carried this chromosome, the study's authors concluded that the "simplest and most probable" conclusion was that Thomas Jefferson was in fact the father of Eston Hemings. Jefferson eventually freed all of Sally Hemings' children, a kindness which he did not extend to any of the other slave families living on his estate. In 1852, Eston Hemings changed his name to Eston Hemings Jefferson.
In January of 1815, Thomas Jefferson, who was deeply indebted, sold his personal library of 6,487 books to Congress for the sum of $23,950 and used the proceeds of the sale to satisfy his creditors. Jefferson's books would become the basis for the Library of Congress. The original Library of Congress, established in 1800, had been burned by invading British troops in 1814. An avid book collector, Jefferson had spent a lifetime acquiring books on almost every topic including science, philosophy, literature, and many books in foreign languages. His collection of books was considered to be one of the finest in the country and was, in fact, larger than the previous Library of Congress which had been destroyed. It was so large, in fact, that, prior to the sale, he even devised a classification system which divided his library into three main categories: History, Philosophy, and Fine Arts.
Monticello was Thomas Jefferson's mountaintop estate, located in the Southwest Mountains of Virginia. A French nobleman once noted that Jefferson had placed his house, as well as his mind, "on an elevated situation, from which he might contemplate the universe." Monticello is featured on the back of the U.S. nickel and some versions of the $2 bill. It is now operated as a museum and educational institution and is the only personal residence in the United States to be designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.