Nicknamed “The Magnolia State” but also known as “The Hospitality State,” Mississippi was the 20th state to join the United States of America on December 10, 1817. That’s enough fast facts about the Magnolia State for now, though; we’re here to learn some of the more interesting facts!
The first European settlement in Mississippi was French
Hernando de Soto’s expedition was a complete and utter disaster, which resulted in Spain temporarily losing almost all interest in the region. More than a hundred years later, France began their explorations and claimed modern-day Mississippi as a part of New France, specifically La Louisiane.
Тhere were many Native American tribes in Mississippi when Europeans arrived
By the time Europeans reached the Americas, many different cultures were thriving throughout the land. In Mississippi, there were at least seven unique tribes within the region when Europeans first made contact, including the Taensa, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Yazoo, Natchez, Biloxi, and Pascagoula.
A number of these tribes came from the Mississippian culture, a civilization of mound-building people who rose to power and were the predominant culture in the region between 800 to 1600 AD.
Mississippi went from being one of the wealthiest states to one of the poorest
Mississippi relied heavily on the cotton industry, and before the American Civil War, it was commonly known that this industry simply wouldn’t be profitable without slave labor. Up until the Civil War, Mississippi ranked at number 5 on the list of wealthiest US states. It comes as no small surprise that following their defeat and the abolition of slavery, Mississippi slid into times of great economic depression.
Mississippi experiences an average of 27 tornadoes per year
Like many other states within the Deep South, Mississippi is too familiar with extreme weather. There have been five truly deadly tornadoes throughout US history, with two of them decimating parts of Mississippi. In the southern parts of the state, tornado season is generally in the later months of the year, while in the northern regions, the season is generally in the earlier months.
The origins of the humble teddy bear lie in Mississippi
At first, it was called “Teddy’s Bear,” and it was named after Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States of America. As the story goes, Roosevelt was out on a hunting expedition with the Mississippi governor near Onward, MI. Someone had apparently captured a bear, tied it to a tree, and then offered Roosevelt the chance to shoot it.
Mississippi was rapidly settled by prospective cotton farmers
There was little reason for settlers to move as far west as the Mississippi Territory until the invention of the cotton gin, with the population of the region in 1798 numbering around 9,000. With the cotton gin came the potential for high profits, and Mississippi became a land of unequaled opportunity for white settlers almost overnight.
The first Europeans to reach the Mississippi region were the Spanish
The famed Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto led the first expedition into modern-day Mississippi in the early 1540s. He embarked upon this famously disastrous expedition with two goals in mind, to search for both a passage through to the Pacific coast as well as large amounts of gold, which various Native American tribes and other explorers had heard rumors of.