A state of the southeast United States. It was admitted as the 20th state in 1817. The first settlers in the region (1699) were French, and the area became part of Louisiana. It passed to the British (1763–1779) and then to the Spanish before being ceded to the United States in 1783. The Mississippi Territory, organized in 1798 and enlarged in 1804 and 1813, also included the present state of Alabama. Jackson is the capital and the largest city. It is bordered by Alabama (E), the Gulf of Mexico (S), Arkansas and Louisiana, with most of the border formed by the Mississippi R. (W), and Tennessee (N).

Where the name comes from: Possibly based on Chippewa Indian words “mici zibi,” loosely meaning “great river”. the Mississippi River, which forms most of the state’s western border.

Abbreviation: MS
Capital City: Jackson
Date of Statehood: Dec. 10, 1817
State #: 20
Population: 2,844,658
Area: 48434 sq.mi. Land 46914 sq. mi. Water 1520 sq.mi.
Agriculture: cotton, poultry, cattle, catfish, soybeans, dairy products, rice
State Bird: Mockingbird
State Flower: Magnolia
State Motto: Virtute et armis — By valor and arms
State Nickname: Magnolia State
State Song: Go Mis-sis-sip-pi

About the Flag

Three broad stripes, one red, one white, one blue, make up the background of the Mississippi flag, In the upper left-hand third of the flag, is a Union Square, with a red ground upon which is a broad blue saltier bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen stars, representing the number of the original States of the Union. Pledge to the Flag: “I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God

History of Mississippi

Mississippi was part of the Mississippian culture in the early part of the second millennium AD; descendant Native American tribes include the Chickasaw and Choctaw. Other tribes who inhabited the territory of Mississippi (and gave their names to local towns) include the Natchez, the Yazoo, and the Biloxi.

The first expedition into the territory that became Mississippi was that of Hernando de Soto, who passed through in 1540. However, the first settlement was that of Ocean Springs (or Old Biloxi), settled by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville in 1699. In 1716, Natchez was founded on the Mississippi River (as Fort Rosalie); it became the dominant town and trading post of the area. After spending some time under Spanish, British, and French nominal jurisdiction, the Mississippi area was deeded to the United States after the French and Indian War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

The Mississippi Territory was organized on April 7, 1798, from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina; it was later twice expanded to include disputed territory claimed by both the U.S. and Spain. Land was purchased (generally through unequal treaties) from Native American tribes from 1800 to about 1830.

Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union, on December 10, 1817.

When cotton was king during the 1850s, Mississippi plantation owners—especially those of the Delta and Black Belt regions—became increasingly wealthy due to the high fertility of the soil and the high price of cotton on the international market. The severe wealth imbalances and the necessity of large-scale slave populations to sustain such income played a heavy role in both state politics and in the support for secession.

Mississippi was the second state to secede from the Union as one of the Confederate States of America on January 9, 1861. During the Civil War the Confederate States were defeated. Under the terms of Reconstruction, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union on February 23, 1870.

Mississippi was considered to typify the Deep South during the era of Jim Crow. A series of increasingly restrictive racial segregation laws enacted during the first part of the 20th century resulted in the emigration of almost half a million people, three-quarters of them black, in the 1940s. However, at the same time, Mississippi became a center of rich, quintessentially American music traditions: gospel music, jazz music, blues, and rock and roll all were invented, promulgated, or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians. Mississippi was also noted for its authors in the early twentieth century, especially William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.

Mississippi was a center of the American Civil Rights Movement. While many in the state supported the effort to secure voting and other rights for African-Americans, the vocal opposition of many politicians and officials and the violent tactics of Ku Klux Klan members and sympathizers gave Mississippi a reputation as a reactionary state during the 1960s.

The state was the last to repeal prohibition and to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, in 1966 and 1995 respectively.

On August 17, 1969, Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars).

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused even greater destruction across the entire 90 miles of Mississippi Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama.

People QuickFacts



Population, 2004 estimate 2,902,966 293,655,404
Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004 2.0% 4.3%
Population, 2000 2,844,658 281,421,906
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 10.5% 13.1%
Persons under 5 years old, percent, 2000 7.2% 6.8%
Persons under 18 years old, percent, 2000 27.3% 25.7%
Persons 65 years old and over, percent, 2000 12.1% 12.4%
Female persons, percent, 2000 51.7% 50.9%
White persons, percent, 2000 (a) 61.4% 75.1%
Black or African American persons, percent, 2000 (a) 36.3% 12.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2000 (a) 0.4% 0.9%
Asian persons, percent, 2000 (a) 0.7% 3.6%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2000 (a) Z 0.1%
Persons reporting some other race, percent, 2000 (a) 0.5% 5.5%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2000 0.7% 2.4%
White persons, not of Hispanic/Latino origin, percent, 2000 60.7% 69.1%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2000 (b) 1.4% 12.5%
Living in same house in 1995 and 2000′, pct age 5+, 2000 58.5% 54.1%
Foreign born persons, percent, 2000 1.4% 11.1%
Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2000 3.6% 17.9%
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2000 72.9% 80.4%
Bachelor’s degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2000 16.9% 24.4%
Persons with a disability, age 5+, 2000 607,570 49,746,248
Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2000 24.6 25.5
Housing units, 2002 1,195,133 119,302,132
Homeownership rate, 2000 72.3% 66.2%
Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2000 13.3% 26.4%
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $71,400 $119,600
Households, 2000 1,046,434 105,480,101
Persons per household, 2000 2.63 2.59
Median household income, 1999 $31,330 $41,994
Per capita money income, 1999 $15,853 $21,587
Persons below poverty, percent, 1999 19.9% 12.4%
Business QuickFacts



Private nonfarm establishments with paid employees, 2001 59,056 7,095,302
Private nonfarm employment, 2001 926,868 115,061,184
Private nonfarm employment, percent change 2000-2001 -3.1% 0.9%
Nonemployer establishments, 2000 134,853 16,529,955
Manufacturers shipments, 1997 ($1000) 39,658,260 3,842,061,405
Retail sales, 1997 ($1000) 20,774,508 2,460,886,012
Retail sales per capita, 1997 $7,605 $9,190
Minority-owned firms, percent of total, 1997 13.1% 14.6%
Women-owned firms, percent of total, 1997 22.8% 26.0%
Housing units authorized by building permits, 2002 11,276 1,747,678
Federal funds and grants, 2002 ($1000) 21,308,498 1,901,247,889
Geography QuickFacts



Land area, 2000 (square miles) 46,907 3,537,438
Persons per square mile, 2000 60.6 79.6
FIPS Code 28  
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