Tags: US State Facts | Mississippi History | Trail of Tears | Civil Rights | Hurricane Katrina

Mississippi History: 9 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM

Mississippi history reaches back to Spanish explorers looking for gold and a quicker route to the Pacific Ocean. It extends through French colonization, slavery, secession and discrimination, to the fight for Civil Rights.

Here are nine historical turning points in Mississippi history:

1. Europeans arrive: The first European settlements in the area that would become the state of Mississippi were founded in 1699. They were near present day Ocean Springs. Mississippi was a French and Spanish colony before being handed over to the United States in 1797.

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2. Slavery: A dubious chapter of Mississippi history started as early as 1718 when the company of the west first brought enslaved Africans to Mississippi. The state would use slave labor to become the top cotton producer in the United States in the 1800s.

3. Trail of Tears: The Choctaws are the first group of Native Americans forcibly removed from Mississippi. They were forced to march west towards the "Indian Territory," west of the Mississippi River in the early 1830s after ceding 11 million acres of ancestral lands.

4. Civil War: Mississippi turned towards the Confederate States of America in 1861 when the state seceded from the Union. Many bloody battles of the Civil War were fought on Mississippi soil, until the war ended in 1985. About 80,000 Mississippi men fought for the Confederacy. Thousands of freed slaves from Mississippi fought for the Union.

5. Emancipation Proclamation: During the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery. This forever altered Mississippi's history, bringing to an end a way of life that had dominated the landscape. According to Mississippi History Now, before the war there were about 430,000 slaves in the state. At that same time, there were only 350,000 whites.

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6. Reconstruction: In 1867, Mississippi was divided into five military districts. The state was occupied by 20,000 U.S. troops during this reconstruction period. The end of slavery had completely demolished the economy of the state. Mississippi was not re-admitted to the Union until 1870.

7. Mississippi River Flood: in 1927, 3 million acres flooded along the Mississippi Delta. At the time this was the worst natural disaster in the history of the country, leaving 700,000 people displaced.

8. Civil Rights Fight: The middle of the 20th century brought a fight for civil rights to Mississippi that would affect the rest of the nation. Among the many important events of this time was the August 28, 1955 murder of Emmett Till. The fight for desegregation in education was highlighted in the early 1960s by the enrollment of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi, which led to riots.

9. Hurricane Katrina: The August 2005 flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi. This storm became one of the deadliest in the history of the United States costing $75 billion in damages.

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Mississippi history reaches back to Spanish explorers looking for gold and a quicker route to the Pacific Ocean. It extends through French colonization, slavery, secession and discrimination, to the fight for Civil Rights.
Mississippi History, Trail of Tears, Civil Rights, Hurricane Katrina
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2015-32-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM
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