The name "Mississippi" comes from a Native American name that means "big river."
The first major European expedition into the territory that became Mississippi was that of the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto. He passed through the northeast part of the state in 1540, in his second expedition to the New World.
French colonists established the first European settlement at Fort Maurepas built in the vicinity of present-day Ocean Springs on the Gulf of Mexico. The fort was completed on May 1, 1699 under the direction of French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville.
|Fort Maurepas. By Iberville -Wikipedia Commons|
In 1716, the French founded Natchez on the Mississippi River (as Fort Rosalie); it became the dominant town and trading post of the area. The French called the greater territory "New France".
After Great Britain's victory in the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), the French surrendered the Mississippi area to them under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763). The Mississippi River became the border between the British and Spanish Empires with Great Britain given rights to all land east of the Mississippi and Spain rights to land west of the Mississippi.
After the American Revolution, Britain ceded the Mississippi area to the United States of America. On April 7, 1798 the Mississippi Territory was organized from disputed territory claimed by both the United States and Spain. It expanded in 1804 and again in 1812.
Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union on December 10, 1817.
The year after the American Civil War ended, a fifth of Mississippi’s state budget was spent on artificial limbs for wounded soldiers.
Representing Mississippi in the Senate, Hiram Rhodes Revels became the first African American to serve in the United States Congress on February 25, 1870. He completed the term of Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis, who had resigned to become president of the Confederacy.
|U.S. Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African-American in the Congress|
The State of Mississippi authorized the first state-supported college for women in 1884. It was called the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College.
Elvis Presley was born in the Mississippi city of Tupelo. As a one-year-old in Tupelo on April 5, 1936, Elvis and his family survived a tornado that was ranked as the fourth deadliest in United States history. It took 216 lives.
Mississippi, which has been dry for sixty years became in 1966 the last US state to repeal prohibition. In the USA prohibition, sometimes referred to as the "noble experiment," came to an end in 1933 when the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages was repealed. However the states retained the right to restrict or ban the purchase and sale of alcohol and some states, including Mississippi, continued to enforce prohibition laws for a number of years.
Sesame Street was banned in Mississippi in 1970 because the cast was integrated.
Mississippi formally ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery in 1995. The Thirteenth Amendment had been officially ratified in 1865.
In the early 19th century Mississippi's citizenry was mostly black, a population that was composed largely of African American slaves. By 1860, the enslaved African-American population numbered 436,631 or 55% of the state's total of 791,305.
In 2010, 37% of Mississippians were African-Americans, the highest percentage of African Americans in a U.S. state.
According to a 2014 Gallup poll, the state with the greatest percentage of respondents identifying as "very religious" was Mississippi (59%),
Mississippi has the highest overall death rate of any U.S. State , and the highest death rate from heart disease, hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, influenza and pneumonia
There are five states that have Confederacy imagery in their state flags — Mississippi's state flag features the full flag.
The worst U.S. state for vegetable consumption is Mississippi, where only 5.5% of people consume the recommended amount of vegetables.
Mississippi's catfish aquaculture farms produce the majority of farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States