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Mississippi State Guide

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Mississippi is a state located in the southern part of the United States. Mississippi is bordered on the east by Alabama, and on the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas, on the north by Tennessee and on the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico. Officially nicknamed the Magnolia State, Mississippi is the 31st most populous of the United States. The state capital is located at Jackson which is also the state’s largest city. Mississippi became the 20th state of US on December 10, 1817 [1].

Mississippi Fast Facts

  • State Capital: Jackson
  • Largest City: Jackson
  • State Nickname: The Magnolia State
  • State Bird: Mockingbird
  • State Flower: Magnolia
  • State Insect: Honeybee
  • State Water Mammal: Bottlenose Dolphin
  • State Butterfly: Spicebush Swallowtail
  • State Tree: Magnolia
  • Sate Beverage: Milk
  • State Shell: Oyster
  • State waterfowl: Wood Duck

History of Mississippi

MississippiThe early inhabitants of Mississippi included the Choctaw, Natchez and Chickasaw. The Mississippi region was first explored by Hernando de Soto who discovered the Mississippi River in 1540. Later French established the first permanent settlement. In the year 1699, French explorers who was led by Sieur d'Iberville started the first permanent settlement around the current-day Ocean Springs.

In 1763, after the French and Indian Wars, Britain took over the area. The US Congress organized the Mississippi Territory in 1798. In 1810 the US annexed West Florida from Spain, including present southern Mississippi. Mississippi seceded from the Union in 1861 and suffered greatly during the American Civil War. Ten years of social, political and economic turmoil followed. The era from the end of Reconstruction to World War II was a period of political, economic, and social stagnation for Mississippi. Over the last half-century Mississippi diversified its economy by balancing agricultural output with increased industrial activity.

The Great Depression of the 1930s pushed Mississippians to the point of desperation and the agricultural economy of the state also witnessed disaster. World War II revolutionized the Mississippi's social, political and economic order, bringing prosperity to the state. By the early 1980s, Mississippi had become an industrial state. Legal segregation was destroyed from 1945 to 1975 and black people exercised their political rights for the first time since Reconstruction. The economy of Mississippi was hard hit by the 1986 decline in oil and gas prices. The 1990s saw increasing industrial diversification.

Mississippi History Timeline

  • 1540: Hernando De Soto entered Mississippi, discovered Mississippi River
  • 1729: French settlers at Fort Rosalie massacred by Natchez Indians
  • 1763: Following French and Indian War Mississippi passed into English control
  • 1797: Spain ceded Mississippi to America
  • 1798: Mississippi organized as American territory
  • 1812: War of 1812 began and Mississippi took control of West Florida territory
  • 1822: State capital moved to Jackson
  • 1861: Civil War began and Mississippi seceded from Union
  • 1862: Union captured Corinth
  • 1863: Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery
  • 1867: Military government established
  • 1870: Mississippi readmitted to Union
  • 1890: New state constitution adopted
  • 1932: State sales tax became effective
  • 1939: First oil well drilled in Yazoo County
  • 2004: Voters banned same-sex marriage
  • 2010: Tornado struck southeastern Mississippi

Geography of Mississippi

The state of Mississippi covers an area of 46,923.27 square miles[2]. Mississippi is bordered on the east by Alabama, and on the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas, on the north by Tennessee and on the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico. The highest point in Mississippi is Woodall Mountain while the lowest point is along the shore at the Gulf of Mexico; sea level.

Mississippi Geography Facts

  • Total Area: 48, 434 square miles
  • Latitude: 30o 13' N to 35o N
  • Longitude: 88o 7' W to 91o 41' W
  • Length: 340 miles long
  • Width: 170 miles wide
  • Geographic center: Leake County, 9 miles WNW of Carthage
  • Highest point: Woodall Mountain
  • Lowest point: Gulf of Mexico
  • Mean Elevation: 300 feet above sea level
  • Major Rivers: Mississippi River, Pearl River, Big Black River, Yazoo River
  • Major Lakes: Ross Barnett Reservoir, Sardis Lake, Arkabutla Lake, Grenada Lake

Topography of Mississippi

The state of Mississippi lies almost entirely within the Gulf Coastal Plain which is continuous to the east with the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The northeast is composed of fertile black soil while the western part of the state is rich in yellow-brown loess soil. Mississippi has an extensive coastline including large bays at Bay St. Louis, Biloxi and Pascagoula. Lowlands make up most of Mississippi's landscape. These lowlands are divided into two regions:

Mississippi Alluvial Plain: The Mississippi Alluvial Plains is also popularly known as the Delta and extends eastward from the Mississippi River. It composes of rich soil made up of silt deposited by the floodwaters.

Gulf Coastal Plain: The Gulf Coastal Plain covers almost the entire state and includes several sub-regions. The most Gulfextensive of these sub-regions are the Red Clay Hills of north-central Mississippi and the Piney Woods of the south and southeast. The Gulf Coastal Plain is subdivided along the Mississippi River into the East Gulf Coastal Plain and the West Gulf Coastal Plain.

Coastal plains comprise a large portion of the land surface of the state. Coastal plain landscapes are low-lying areas of water-deposited sediments bordering oceans. Mississippi has deposits of petroleum, natural gas, salt, low-grade lignite, clays, sand and gravel.

Mountains in Mississippi

Mississippi has many high mountain peaks. The highest point in the state is Woodall Mountain. The major mountains in the state include:

  • Lebanon Mountain
  • Tippah Hills
  • Kitchen Mountain
  • Wicker Mountain
  • Crow Mountain
  • Lindsey Mountain
  • Bloodsaw Hill
  • Potato Hill
  • Bald Knob
  • Sweden Hill
  • Bragg Mountain

Forests in Mississippi

The forests occupy 65% of Mississippi’s total land area. The Mississippi forests comprise of many species of flora and fauna. The resources of forests are important for the economic growth of the state. The forests of the state are important source of timber, and bio energy resources. Forests in Mississippi also provide a number of recreational activities to the visitors like camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, swimming, canoeing, horse riding and so on.

National Forests in Mississippi

  • Bienville National Forest
  • De Soto National Forest
  • Delta National Forest
  • Holly Springs National Forest
  • Homochitto National Forest
  • Tombigbee National Forest

Read more on National Forests

State Forest in Mississippi
  • Kurtz State Forest

State Parks in Mississippi

  • Buccaneer State Park
  • Clarkco State Park
  • Cossar State Park
  • Carver Point State Park
  • Roosevelt State Park
  • Shepard State Park
  • Golden Memorial State Park
  • Holmes County State Park
  • Hugh White State Park
  • Gulf Marine State Park
  • J P Coleman State Park
  • Lake Lowndes State Park
  • Tishomingo State Park
  • Tombigbee State Park
  • Wall Doxey State Park
  • Winterville State Park
  • John W Kyle State Park
  • Leroy Percy State Park
  • Paul B Johnson State Park
  • Nanih Waya State Park
  • Natchez State Park
  • Percy Quin State Park

Mississippi Flora and Fauna

The forests in Mississippi are the main habitat of flora and fauna and are also home to many rare and unique species. Flora found in the forests include Post and white oaks, hickory, maple, magnolia, willows and gums, longleaf pine, green Virginia creeper, black-eyed Susan, and Cherokee rose. Mammals like opossum, armadillo, eastern mole, coyote, mink, striped skunk, white-tailed deer, and diverse bats and mice are found. Birds include varieties of wren, warbler, thrush, vireo, and hawk, along with numerous waterfowl and seabirds, the common loon, Franklin's gull, and the wood stork among them. Rare species in Mississippi include the hoary bat, mole salamander, American oystercatcher, Yazoo darker, pigmy killifish, and five species of crayfish.

Climate of Mississippi

The climate of Mississippi is characterized by humid subtropical climate with long, humid summers and short, mild winters. The mid-summer average statewide is about 80 to 82-degrees F, high temperatures often exceed 90-degrees F for up to 100 days. The average winter temperature ranges between about 40-42-degrees F. The monthly average temperatures range from about 35oC in July to 9oC in January. The state has heavy snowfall. The state is prone to severe weather conditions like tornadoes, hurricanes and other destructive storms. Between February and May, the state often experiences violent storms which frequently develop into destructive tornadoes.

Demographics of Mississippi

Mississippi had an estimated population 2,994,079 as of 2014[3] estimation by the U.S Census Bureau, which reflected an increase of 0.9% since the year 2010. The population density of Mississippi is 63.5 persons per square mile. The center of population of Mississippi is situated in Leake County. Some of the major ancestral groups in Mississippi include African American, English, Scott.

Major racial ethnic groups in Mississippi

  • White alone: 59.8%
  • Black or African American: 37.4%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.6%
  • Asian: 1.0%
  • Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Two or More Races: 1.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 2.9%

The common languages spoken in the state are English, Spanish, French, German, Korean and Arabic. The common religious groups in Mississippi are Roman Catholics, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist Hindus, Muslims and Bahais.

Mississippi population quick facts

  • Population, 2014: 2,994,079[3]
  • Population, 2013: 2,992,206
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 0.9%
  • Population, 2010: 2,967,297
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.6%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 24.7%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 13.9%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 51.4%

Economy of Mississippi

The state of Mississippi portrays a rural backdrop and agriculture is the dominant revenue generator of the state. The economy of Mississippi is supported by agriculture, industries and the service sector. Cotton production is one of the largest economic drivers of the state. As regards to employment in Mississippi in January 2015, 1,139 people were employed in Mississippi while 87.7 remained unemployed and the unemployment rate was 7.1%[4].

Economy Fast Facts

Gross domestic product (GDP) in millions of current dollars (2013)economy

  • All industry total: $105,163[5]
  • Private industries: $87,274
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting: $4,040
  • Manufacturing: $15,127
  • Durable goods manufacturing: 8,605
  • Nondurable goods manufacturing: 6,522

Agriculture in Mississippi

  • The most valuable crops of Mississippi are cotton and soybeans.
  • Other important crops are corn, rice, sweet potatoes, grain sorghum, peanuts, hay for livestock, rice, and wheat.
  • Vegetables grown in Mississippi are cucumbers, sweet potatoes and cowpeas; and important fruits include muscadine grapes, peaches, and watermelons.
  • Broilers are Mississippi's most valuable livestock product.

Industry in Mississippi

  • Mississippi's most important manufactured products are processed foods. Other food products are dairy products, beverages, grain products and seasonings.
  • Other manufactured products include furniture production, manufacture of chemicals, motor vehicles, ocean-going freighters and tankers, electrical products, lighting and wiring equipment, and stereo systems.
  • The most important mined products are petroleum and natural gas.
  • Mississippi is a leading state producing shrimp.
  • Mississippi's leading services group includes Community, business and personal services (private health care, law firms, hotels, casino gaming, repair shops)
  • Other important service industries are wholesale and retail trade and government services (operation of public schools and hospitals, military establishments).

Tourism in Mississippi

Tourism also plays a vital role in Mississippi's economy. Many plans and programs are implemented to improve Mississippi's transportation network and accordingly enhance the tourism sector. Some of the major tourist attractions in Mississippi include:

Education in Mississippi

Mississippi has a very well functioning education system. Mississippi has 151 public school districts serving almost education500,000 students and employing more than 32,000 teachers. The Mississippi Department of Education implements a system wide plan of performance, policy and direction for public education in Mississippi. The vision of the Board is to create a world-class education system to give students the knowledge and skills allowing them to be successful in college and the workforce.

Contact Details
359 North West Street
Jackson, MS 39201
Phone: 601-359-3513
Fax: 601-432-6480
Website: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/

Listed below are the topmost universities and colleges in Mississippi

Government of Mississippi

The Constitution of Mississippi is the guardian of the Government of Mississippi as the government is structured and established by the State Constitution of Mississippi. Mississippi became the 20th state of US on December 10, 1817. The State Constitution of Mississippi divides the powers of the government into three distinct branches— the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

The Mississippi Executive Branch is a well functioning body of the state government. Several state government departments work under the executive branch for the smooth functioning of the government. The Governor of Mississippi leads the executive branch of the government as the supreme executive head.

The Legislative power is vested in the legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Mississippi Legislature and comprises of 122 members. The Mississippi Senate is the upper house of the Mississippi Legislature, composing 52 Senators.

The judicial power of the state is vested in the Supreme Court and such other courts as are provided for in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Mississippi.

Read more on Mississippi Government

Transportation in Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Transportation overviews the entire transportation network of the state and ensure safe transportationand easy commuting of people and goods. The department of transportation provides safe and secure mobility and travel options for the residents of the state and provide for a transportation system and services that are well maintained, reliable and efficient. The department strives to achieve transportation excellence in the state and develops plans and programs relating to the system of highways, roads, bridges, railways and airways in Mississippi.

The road transport in Mississippi comprises of highways, state routes, public transit and bicycle and pedestrian routes. The Mississippi transport department is committed to provide convenient, safe and reliable road transportation in the state and also to provide easy connectivity to various cities and states.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation's air transport office promotes a system of airports for best possible air transportation in Mississippi. The department plans, constructs and maintains the transportation system in the most efficient and economical manner and is dedicated to the promotion of Mississippi Airports.

The Rail Division of Mississippi is responsible to ensure a safe, efficient and reliable rail transportation system in Mississippi. The rail division is responsible to focus on the development and safety of the rail transportation system of the state for freight and passenger service. The division makes a comprehensive program for capital improvement and strategic planning of the railways.

Water Transportation plays a major role in the transportation system of Mississippi. It serves the people as a mode of tourist transportation and a major mode for freight movement across the state. The Mississippi department of transportation's Ports & Waterways division is responsible for planning, promoting and supporting the ports by providing funding and technical assistance to ports.

Read more on Mississippi Transport

Healthcare in Mississippi

The Mississippi State Health Department is responsible for the health, safety and well being of the people of the state of Mississippi. For the health benefits of the people, the department administers services and programs such as disease surveillance, disease and injury prevention, immunizations, and programs for women, infants and children. The department strives to meet the health needs of citizens, provide treatment to those who have unique needs and protect and care for the most vulnerable citizens of the state.

Hospitals in Mississippi provide quality health care to the citizens of the state. The Mississippi hospitals provide emergency, inpatient, outpatient care and diagnostic every day to those in need. The hospitals in Mississippi are well equipped with state of art technology and provide committed services to the patients. Notable hospitals in Mississippi are Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi, Memorial Hospital, University of Mississippi Medical Center, South Central Regional Medical Center, St. Dominic Hospital among others.

Read more on Mississippi Healthcare

Interesting Facts about Mississippi

  • The State Song is "Go, Mississippi".
  • The State Motto is "Virtute et armis".
  • Alcorn State University is the nation’s oldest African American land-grant college.
  • Lumberton in Mississippi is the home to the world’s largest pecan nursery.
  • Belzoni in Mississippi is called the “Catfish Capital of the World.”
  • The Mississippi Gulf Coast has the world’s longest man-made beach.


  1. Mississippi Statehood
  2. Mississippi Area
  3. Mississippi Population
  4. Employment Rate
  5. Economy Fast Facts
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