The area now known as St. John the Baptist Parish was discovered by European explorers in the late 1500’s. By the 1720’s German families fleeing French persecution began arriving, taking up land along the Mississippi River and creating what later became known as the German Coast, which included land from neighboring St. Charles Parish. As more European colonists came to the territory, they established farming, trade, and eventually sugar cane production. There are several plantation homes that have been preserved and are listed on the National Historic Registry, where sugar cane was the main crop farmed in the area by these larger plantation owners. In the 20th century, the area began diversifying its economy, and today, the parish is home to several industries, including companies such as Dow Chemical, Cargill, and Marathon Petroleum.