The Mississippi Territory was first organized on April 7, 1798 from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina. It expanded twice more to include territory disputed over by the US and Spain. Thru the Treaty of Doaks Island more land was bought by the US from Native American Tribes. On December 10, 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state admitted to the Union.
In January 1861 Mississippi became the second state to officially secede from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War and one of the founding members of the Confederate States of America. During Reconstruction Mississippi held it's first Constitutional Convention in 1868. At this time it became the first political organization to include African American representatives (17 out of 100). Mississippi was restored to the Union on February 23, 1870.
Mississippi is a state bordered by Tennessee, Alabama, the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas. It's namesake is the Mississippi River taken from the Ojibwe term misi-ziibi meaning "Great River".
In it's pristine state prior to the 19th Century it was primarily forested but with the coming of the 19th Century that changed when the landscape was cleared for the farming of primarily cotton and tobacco. Many areas have once again returned to a more forested state with a changing economy though the years. There you can once again find mature pine, cottonwood, hickory, oak, pecan, sweetgum and tupelo. Unfortunately in these precious places of beauty you will also often find kudzu an invasive species introduced to the south from Japan during the time of the dust bowl in hopes of keeping valuable top soil in place. It is now in some areas choking out many of the indigenous species found there.
Jackson is both the state capital and the most populous city. The highest point in the state is Woodall Mountain reaching only 807 feet above sea level in the foot hills of the Cumberland Mountains. The rest of the state are considered primarily lowlands, extending down to the Gulf of Mexico.
With such a large river bordering half of the state it is prone to floods. So there were many levy's built along it's length primarily by slaves prior to 1858 and then by the state itself from 1858-1861 using contractors and laborers, as plantation owners no longer wanted to lend their slaves for such dangerous jobs. These workers were primarily Irish immigrants. Floods often overwhelmed these levy's especially those damaged during the Civil War and in 1870 the US Congress created the Mississippi River Commission who took over the job of expanding, maintaining and repairing the levy's along the river.