The state of Mississippi is located in the southern United States, with the Mississippi River to its west, the state of Alabama to its east, and the Gulf of Mexico to its south. The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale honors the blues music roots of the Mississippi Delta region. It is also home to the Vicksburg National Military Park, which preserves the site of a crucial Civil War battle.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT MISSISSIPPI
- Capital City: Jackson
- Largest City: Jackson
- Nickname: The Magnolia State
- Statehood: December 10, 1817; 20th state
- Population (as of 2020): 886,667
- Abbreviation: M.S.
- State bird: mockingbird
- State flower: magnolia
- Total Size Of The State: 48,430 sq mi (125,443 km2)
Approximately 12,000 years ago, the land now known as Mississippi was inhabited. Native Americans have historically occupied the land. In addition, Mississippi has been home to several tribes that lived on the land, including the Biloxi, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez.
Mapped initially by Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda in 1519, the land was claimed by France more than one hundred years later by French explorer Sieur de la Salle. Within a short period, the slave trade was established here by European settlers. The state of Mississippi became a U.S. territory in 1798, and it was admitted to the Union in 1817.
Thousands of Native Americans from this region had been forced out of their homelands by 1838 and relocated west of the Mississippi River. Despite this, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians still resides in the state.
In 1861, Mississippi became the second state to withdraw from the Union. The state rejoined the Union in 1870, five years after the Civil War ended. In the 1950s and 1960s, the state was an important battleground in the fight for civil rights as Black Americans protested for equality.
Why Does It Have That Name?
Although the Ojibwe people are not from this area, the word Mississippi, which means “big river,” comes from the Ojibwe language. Ojibwe lived in northern Minnesota, where the Mississippi River begins, and the state is named after the river.
Because of its magnolia trees, it is nicknamed the Magnolia State.
Geographic Features and Landforms
Tennessee borders Mississippi in the north, Alabama borders Mississippi in the east, the Gulf of Mexico borders Mississippi in the south, and Louisiana borders Mississippi in the west. Its western border is the Mississippi River. There are two geographical regions in Mississippi.
Deltas, also known as Mississippi Alluvial Plains, extend from the Mississippi River to the state line. They have very fertile soil that extends several feet deep.
The Gulf Coastal Plain mainly covers Mississippi. Towards the north, it includes the Red Clay Hills (reddish-orange soil) and Holly Springs National Forest. In addition, Gulf Island National Seashore offers 160 miles of maritime forests, bayous, and sandy beaches in the coastal area.
The Natural World
Mississippi has many mammals, including white-tailed deer, nine-banded armadillos, and swamp rabbits. Bald eagles, woodpeckers, and wild turkeys are among the birds that fly overhead. In addition, this area is home to southeastern five-lined skinks, Gulf crawfish snakes, and Mississippi mud turtles. This state is also home to amphibians such as Mississippi slimy salamanders and cricket frogs.
Mississippi has live oaks, pines, hickories, pecans, and magnolia trees. In addition, the state is home to many wildflowers, including chicory, black-eyed Susans, orange daylilies, and Mississippi penstemons.
One of the state’s significant resources is its forests, which cover 65 percent of the state. In addition, hickory and oak are popular woods for furniture and flooring in Mississippi because of their beautiful grain. Also among Mississippi’s best resources are the state’s fertile soils, which produce crops such as soybeans, sweet potatoes, and cotton.
Some Fun Facts About Mississippi
- Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, where tours can be taken of his childhood home. Mississippi has produced rock-and-roll pioneer Bo Diddley, blues musicians Muddy Waters and B.B. The Muppets creator Jim Henson hails from Mississippi.
- In the aftermath of the Civil War in Mississippi, a musical style called the blues developed. Enslaved people sang it as they worked in the fields, and African spirituals, and religious songs, also inspired it.
- There’s nothing like Mississippi mud pie to put a smile on your face. Chocolate cookies make up the crust. Mississippian snacks include boiled peanuts and simmered collard greens.