Mississippi: History of a Great State

Mississippi is a prosperous state today and is not a debatable fact. However, this has not always been the case; things have not always been smooth. Like every state in the world, Mississippi has its own spell-binding history, a very eventful one.

The history dates back to the crude life of the Prehistoric Age down to the hyper-sophisticated and technology-driven world of the 21st century. Mississippi continues to dazzle every student of history with its particularly enchanting history. The state has seen the blood-curdling horrors of battle and enjoyed the cool breeze of prosperity, but the good thing is that the Magnolia State has stood the test of time. Although it has made and is still making history, it is has not become history itself.

The history of Mississippi dates back to the time of the American Indians such as the Choctaws, Chickasaw, Natchez, Yazoo, Pascagoula and the Biloxi. Much of the state was not beamed to the world until the expedition of Hernando De Soto (the first major expedition by any European) in 1540. Over different periods of time, the state was ruled by the French, Spanish and the British. In fact, the popular city of Natchez (Mississippi’s first capital) was founded as a French outpost in 1716. It was not until 1783 that the United States gained control of the state under the treaty of Paris. The capital was later moved to Jackson (named in honour of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the US) in 1822.

A prominent part of the history of Mississippi is that of land disputes which were really rampant around the time of the Land Purchase. The most notorious land issue was the Yazoo Land Scandal of 1795. Huge tracts of land were purchased from the Chickasaw and Choctaw Native Americans in the 1800s under various treaties such as the Pontotoc Treaty of 1832.

The history of Mississippi is not complete without the mention of an important agricultural crop, cotton. In the 1800s, cotton was a major driver of the state economy peaking with a cotton boom in the 1850s. The crop was the engine of prosperity at that time although there were serious issues of slavery. Another interesting aspect of the state’s history was during the American Civil War in which Mississippi was the stronghold of the Confederate States of America. As a matter of fact, Mississippi seceded from the Union in January 1861 and its senator, Jefferson Davis was to later emerge as the president of the Confederacy. Mississippi was eventually admitted into the Union in 1817.

During the Civil War, the state fought and lost heavily. The Mississippi people fought gallantly especially in the historical Vicksburg Campaign, but later fell to the overwhelming arsenal of Ulysses Grant, former US President. Although terrible losses were recorded in the Civil War, the Second World War sparked an industrial boom in the state. Today the Magnolia State has been growing in leaps and bounds, recording even more spectacular historical milestones. In 1987, Ray Mabus was elected as governor at the age of 39, the youngest in the nation. Today, in the 21st century, the state is now seen as a center of rapid industrialization and economic growth. What the future has in stock for Mississippi, only time can tell.