Originally inhabited by Indians from several tribal nations, Mississippi was colonized in 1699 when Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d'Iberville landed in what is now Ocean Springs, on the Gulf Coast. Claimed by the French, then the Spanish and English, Mississippi was eventually bought by the United States. By the 1830s, cotton was king, and the state was on its way to becoming one of the nation's wealthiest.
On January 9, 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union, and, with the outbreak of the Civil War, battles were waged in every corner of the state. Readmitted to the Union in 1870, the state began to rebuild. Long recognized as an agricultural state, today's Mississippi is also the nation's largest manufacturer of upholstered furniture, supplies 70% of the world's supply of pond-raised catfish, and is home to NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center(Bay St. Louis), the nation's largest Army Corps of Engineers' Waterway Experiment Station (Vicksburg), and the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station (Port Gibson). The state is recognized internationally for its outstanding contributions in the medical research areas of hypertension and organ transplantation.
of Mississippi History
Facts About Mississippi
Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, discovered the Mississippi River in 1540. Spain did not relinquish its claims on the Mississippi region until 1798.
Although cotton is the most important crop in Mississippi, corn, peanuts, pecans, rice, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, soybeans, food grains, poultry, eggs, meat animals, dairy products, feed crops and horticultural crops are all important to the state's economy.
Nearly 60% of Mississippi is covered by forests, and more than 100 species of trees are found in the state.
Mississippi was the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, issuing in the era of Prohibition in 1919-1920.
The nation's first levee system was built along the Mississippi side of the Mississippi River in 1860 and stretched for 300 miles.
In 1963, the University of Mississippi Medical Center accomplished the world's first human lung transplant and, on January 23, 1964, Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world's first heart transplant surgery.
The first female rural mail carrier in the U.S. was Mrs. Mamie Thomas, who delivered mail by buggy in 1914 to the area southeast of Vicksburg.
The first nuclear submarine built in the South was produced in Mississippi.
Mississippi was the first state in the nation to have a planned system of junior colleges.
National Geographic Magazine is printed at World Color, in Corinth, Mississippi.
Alcorn State University is the nation's oldest historically black land-grant college.
Borden's Condensed Milk was first canned in Liberty, Mississippi
Mississippi's Petrified Forest near Flora is the only such site in the eastern United States.
The world's largest headboard manufacturing plant is the Masonite Company in Laurel, Mississippi.
The world's largest manufacturer of furniture wood products is in Eupora, Mississippi.
The world's largest pecan nursery is in Lumberton, Mississippi.
The oldest book in America, an ancient Biblical manuscript, is located the the University of Mississippi.
The Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson houses a state-of-the-art surgical suite matched by only one other such facility in the western hemisphere.
The Space Shuttle's main engines are test-fired at the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station at Vicksburg is the world's largest hydraulic research laboratory.
The world's oldest Holiday Inn is located in Clarksdale.
After the Civil War, famed hatmaker John B. Stetson learned and practiced his trade at Dunn's Falls near Meridian.
In 1834, Captain Isaac Ross, whose plantation was in Lorman, freed his slaves and arranged for them to be sent to Africa, where they founded the country of Liberia.
The world's only cactus plantation is located near Edwards, and grows more than 3,000 varieties of cacti.
Historical facts from Visit Mississippi