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Facts about Mississippi History: 7 Things You Might Not Know

By    |   Saturday, 11 April 2015 04:02 AM

Some facts about Mississippi history are well known. For instance, the state’s name is derived from the Mississippi River along its western border. But other historical details are less familiar to the general public.

Here are seven things about Mississippi history that you are unlikely to have known unless -- or even if – you live in the Magnolia State:

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1. Catfish Country

According to History.com, three in five farm-raised catfish in the U.S. come from Mississippi. In fact, Economy Watch reports that Mississippi is No. 1 in the world in the production of catfish.

Residents started producing catfish commercially in the 1960s. The town of Belzoni is even dubbed the “Catfish Capital of the World.” Belzoni operates a catfish festival and runs a catfish museum for tourists.

2. Multiple State Capitals

One of the most interesting facts about Mississippi is its history of capital cities, according to the Mississippi Historical Society.

Natchez was chosen as territorial capital after the U.S. Congress established the Mississippi Territory in 1798. The territorial capital then moved to Washington, a small town near Natchez, in 1802 after the Republican Party gained control when Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1800.

Natchez became capital again in 1817 when Mississippi was admitted to the U.S., though the first session of the state legislature actually met in Washington.

The state legislature then selected Columbia as the temporary capital in 1821 until it chose an area of land near the center of the state to create a new city, Jackson, as the permanent state capital in 1822.

Jackson was named after Andrew Jackson for his role in the Battle of New Orleans.

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3. Sweet Home Alabama

When U.S. President James Monroe signed the act of Congress that admitted Mississippi to the Union in 1817, only the western half of the Mississippi Territory became Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The eastern half formed the Alabama Territory. Alabama was later admitted to the Union in 1819.

4. Rhythm and Blues

According to History.com, Mississippi spawned the blues as a musical style during the post-Civil War era in the Mississippi Delta.

The blues trace their roots to slavery. Slaves sung African spirituals and songs in the blues musical form as a mode of relief from their oppressive lives and as a way to express themselves as individuals living in bondage.

5. Invention of Root Beer

Barq’s Root Beer, one of the highest-selling root beer products in the world for more than a century, got its start in Biloxi, Miss.

According to Barq’s, Edward Charles Edmond Barq moved to Biloxi from New Orleans in 1897. He successfully invented his brand of root beer in 1898 and bottled and sold his first Barq’s root beer drinks that same year.

6. Home of the Teddy Bear

The term "teddy bear" was coined in 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt was on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County.

According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and History.com, Roosevelt saw a bear tied to a tree but declined to shoot it. His refusal was later captured in an editorial cartoon, spawning a shop owner to invent the first stuffed teddy bear.

7. First Human Lung Transplant

The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson was the site of the world’s first human lung transplant. Dr. James Hardy accomplished the feat on June 11, 1963, according to History.com.

Less than a year later, Hardy performed the first heart transplant surgery by successfully transplanting a chimpanzee’s heart into a human patient near death.

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Some facts about Mississippi history are well known. For instance, the state's name is derived from the Mississippi River along its western border. But other historical details are less familiar to the general public. Here are seven more things about Mississippi history.
facts, mississippi, history
Saturday, 11 April 2015 04:02 AM
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