Iberville was "discovered" by French explorer Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d'Iberville in 1699, but its rich delta soil and many waterways had been discovered by Indian tribes long before Iberville ever set foot here. While it was initially an agricultural area, Iberville has chaned through the centuries to accommodate the changing times. The parish has always had plenty of sugarcane and soybean fields, but through the years the hardwood timber industry, river commerce and now industrial development have been essential to a thriving parish economy.
From the 1800s until the mid-1900s, Louisiana produced more sugar than any other state in the nation, and Iberville, as the state's leading sugarcane producer, drew the name "Sweet Iberville." By the late 1800s Bayou Plaquemine, running through the heart of Iberville, became the most common route from the Mississippi River into the interior of Louisiana, and this water traffic brought a boom in the parish's timber and sawmill industries and a variety of commercial establishments catering to travelers. It is also resulted in the construction of the historic Plaquemine Lock.
With the agricultural, timber, sawmill, and water commerce industries powering the economy, Iberville prospered into the 1960s, when the Lock was finally closed, replaced by a bigger structure closer to Baton Rouge. But by this time the chemical industry had realized the many advantages that Iberville offered with its access to the Mississippi River, interstate travel, electrical power and hard-working people. Today, the chemical and agriculture industries power the economy, and exist in harmony with the tourism industry.
The parish now has six municipalities - Plaquemine, the largest city and capital of the parish, St. Gabriel, White Castle, Rosedale, Grosse Tete and Maringouin. It is experiencing an economic burst, with several chemical and industrial plants announcing new plant start-ups and expansions totaling well over $1 billion. A parish rich in history, Iberville is also a parish moving into a new and dynamic chapter of its long life.