History of Mississippi

The U.S. State of Mississippi (MS) was admitted as the 20th state of the union on December 10th, 1817.  The land currently comprising modern-day Mississippi was initially inhabited by ancient tribes of indigenous Native Americans.  Along the area of the Mississippi Delta, these indigenous societies recognized the value in the fertile landscape the Mississippi Delta had to offer.  For thousands of years, these societies established fruitful agrarian cultures among the natural levees and higher grounds between the Mississippi River and the Mississippi Delta.  They cleared forests and created fields to grow crops for their villages, paving the way for further growth in these communities.

Descendants of these indigenous societies brought forth new generations of Native Americans who continued to inhabit the areas around the Mississippi River and the Mississippi Delta.  These new generations established advanced communities and set up trading networks that stretched from Mississippi to the Great Lakes.  For thousands of years, human beings saw the value in the land of modern-day Mississippi and continued to produce, construct, and grow until the first European contact was made in the 1500s by the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto.

However, the first European settlement in the region was not built until nearly 150 years later.  In 1699, the French established the settlement at Fort Maurepas along the Gulf Coast.  A few years later, the French established Natchez along the Mississippi River.  Natchez became the major town in the region, acting as a major trading hub.

Mississippi did not come under American control until after the American Revolution, when Great Britain ceded control of the area as a condition of their loss in the war.  The MS Territory was formally organized in 1798, with its admission to statehood coming nearly twenty years later.


Currently, MS ranks 32nd among the fifty states in terms of land area and population.  Jackson serves as the state capital of MS and is its largest city.  In July of 2015, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of Mississippi to be 2,992,333, with nearly 175,000 people living in Jackson.

MS plays a part in America’s auto industry by housing the Toyota Mississippi manufacturing plant and a Nissan automotive plant.  In addition to its manufacturing industry, Mississippi legalized gambling in the 1990s and quickly became the nation’s second most popular destination for gambling behind Nevada’s Las Vegas and New Jersey’s Atlantic City.  As a result, a number of casinos were built along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast to help generate tourism.

In terms of its cultural attraction, MS has built a name for itself in the arts and music over recent years.  For example, Jackson, MS, established the USA International Ballet Competition, which is held every four years as a way to attract visitors from around the world; the city of Starkville hosts the Magnolia Independent Film Festival annually, and currently in the works is the Mississippi Blues Trail to allow visitors to discover the roots of Blues music.

Many notable people across all disciplines and professions have roots in MS as well.  The likes of Tennessee Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, John Grisham, Jimmy Buffet, and Elvis Presley, to name a few, all originated in MS.