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Division of Tourism
P. O. Box 22825
Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601-359-3297

Statewide Travel Information: 1-800-WARMEST


Explorer, Hernando de Soto came to the area around present-day Clarksdale in 1541. The first permanent settlement was at Fort Maurepas, established by Pierre le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville. He came to this area in 1699. It is the same area that is now Ocean Springs. The area remained largely unpopulated until about 1763 when France gave up its occupation of the area, ceding it to Great Britain. Most of the settlers at that time came in from Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. In 1798, the Territory of Mississippi was created. It was further extended in 1804 to where Tennessee's border is now. In 1813, more land of Western Florida was added. Mississippi became a state on 10 December 1817 as the 20th state in the Union

Mississippi is named for the River of the same name which forms the state’s western border.  The name means “Father of Waters” when roughly translated from Native American folklore.  The Chippewa words “mici zibi” mean great river or gathering in of all the waters.  The Algonquin word Messipi is used for the other portion of the name.

The Civil War invaded Mississippi with the greatest battles fought around Vicksburg before it finally fell to General Grant in 1863. The area suffered much devastation throughout the war. Once it was over, there was much turmoil in the economy.

In the 20th century, Mississippi's greatest challenge was racial inequity with many hurdles crossed over, but with yardage still needed to be gained. In the early years, voter registration came to all residents of the state, regardless of color. Minority politicians were elected in all parts of the government. Civil Rights movements have continued to ease the inequity with more work continually needing to be done.

Some of Mississippi's "native sons" are Author, William Faulkner, Playwright, Tennessee Williams, Blues Musician, B.B. King, Opera singer, Leontyne Price and the "King," Elvis Presley.


The economy in the state is diverse and expanding. All industries are represented. Even though manufacturing and business has expanded, agriculture remains a major force in the state's economy. Main crops are cotton, soybeans and rice, but also grown are corn and wheat. Many types of fruit are grown in the central and southern parts of the state. Strawberries, figs and sugarcane are particularly grown in the southern portions. Mississippi is well-suited for growing pecans. Dairy, poultry and catfish are among the foods produced in the state. Along the gulf coast, fishing for shrimp and oysters has become a major aspect of the economy.


Most of Mississippi is rolling hills with fertile soil. The exception to this is along the gulf coast in the Yazoo-Mississippi delta area. Much of the farming is done in this area. A great deal of pine forest is also in the south. The highest part of the state is in the northeast corner. There is a coastline of about 44 miles along the Gulf of Mexico.

Major rivers in Mississippi include, of course, the "mighty" Mississippi along the western border. Other major river systems include the Pearl and Yazoo. A major waterway in the state is the 232 miles canal called the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. It uses a series of locks to connect up 16,000 miles of waterways reaching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Total area: 48, 434 square miles, 32nd largest state
Total land area:  46,914 square miles
Total water area: 1,520 square miles

Highest Point: 806 feet above sea level at Woodall Mountain
Lowest Point: Sea Level at the Gulf of Mexico
Average elevation: 300 feet above sea level

Longitude: 88° 7' W to 91° 41' W
Latitude: 30° 13' N to 35° N
Geographic Center of the state:  9 miles WNW of Carthage in Leake County, at Longitude: 89° 43.0'W Latitude: 32° 48.9'N

Length: 340 miles
Width: 170 miles

Borders include Tennessee on the north, Gulf of Mexico on the south, Alabama on the east and both Arkansas and Louisiana on the west.


Mississippi Gulf Coast Beach
Playground of the South

Please call for a free brochure

Governor's Mansion
on Capitol St.
Phone: 601-359-3175
This mansion was built in 1842. During the Civil War it was the headquarters for both General Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Guided tours are available.

The Old Capitol
N. State and Capitol Sts
built in 1838 and used as the seat of state government until 1903. It has since been restored and is used now as the State Historical Museum with tours, lectures and programs.
Phone: 601-359-6920

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
111 N. Jefferson St.
Jackson, MS
Phone: 601-354-7303

Many exhibits and displays, particularly of wildlife and ecological concerns. Many interactive and hands-on exhibits are also available along with an aquarium system for game fish and more.



Mississippi Division of Tourism

Missippippi Department of Education

Government Links page for Mississippi
Great links page for all levels of government in Mississippi


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This page was created 17 February 2000

This page was last updated 18 September 2006 at 11:24 am

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