|State nickname: Magnolia State|
- % water
Ranked 32nd |
- Total (2000)
|Admittance into Union
December 10, 1817
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
30°13'N to 35°N|
88°7'W to 91°41'W
275 km |
Postal abbreviation: MS. Official (long) name: State of Mississippi.
The state takes its name from the Mississippi River, which flows along the western boundary. The name itself probably comes from Native American words with various spellings that mean "large waters" or "father of the waters." Other nicknames attached to Mississippi are the Eagle State, the Border-Eagle State, and the Bayou State. Mississippians are sometimes called Mudcats after the freshwater catfish taken from the state's streams.
USS Mississippi was named in honor of this state.
Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union, on December 10, 1817. It was the second state to secede from the Union as one of the Confederate States of America on January 9, 1861. During the Civil War the Confederate States were defeated and subsequently Mississippi was readmitted to the Union on February 23, 1870.
Physical Geography: Mississippi is bounded by Tennessee on the north, Alabama on the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana on the south, and on the west, across the Mississippi River, the states of Louisiana and Arkansas.
Mississippi's physical geography is characterized by two distinct regions: the Mississippi River Floodplain and the Gulf Coastal Plain. The Mississippi Floodplain runs along the western part of the state, adjacent to the Mississippi River, and includes the Mississippi Delta region, one of the most fertile regions in the world. Between the southwest corner and Vicksburg the Floodplain extends only a few miles east of the river, but north of Vicksburg it extends eastward to the Yazoo River, forming a large, leaf-shaped region, the Mississippi Delta. The Gulf Coastal Plain covers all the rest of the state and can be divided into nine distinct regions. The Tennessee[?] and Tombigbee[?] Rivers' Hills occupy the northeastern part of the state, where Woodall Mountain[?], near Iuka, is the state's highest point, at 806 feet above sea level. West of the Hills is the Black Prairie, a narrow, fertile, crescent-shaped lowland with few trees. Along the western border of the Black Prairie rises the Pontotoc Ridge, from the Tennessee state line to near Ackerman. North Mississippi also includes the Flatwoods, a narrow crescent of sticky clay soil adjacent to both the Tennessee and Alabama borders. Additionally, the North Central Hills occupy all of north-central Mississippi and extend as far southeast as Clarke County. To the west, the Loess Hills (or Bluff Hills) another series of uplands run along the edge of the Floodplain. These hills border the eastern edge of the Delta in the north and then curve westward following the line of the Mississippi River below Vicksburg.
South of the North Central Hills, the Jackson Prairies, a belt of fertile farmland, run northwest to southeast from Yahoo County into Wayne County. All of southern Mississippi except for a strip along the gulf, is covered with the Long Leaf Pine Hills (a.k.a. Piney Woods) south of the Jackson Prairies, and is the state's chief timber-producing area. Along the southern edge of the panhandle lie the Coastal Meadows. The lowest part of the state, along the estuary known as the Mississippi Sound, lies at sea level.
The western part of the state is drained by the Mississippi River and three of its tributaries -? the Yazoo[?], Big Black[?], and Homochitto[?] rivers. The extreme northeastern corner lies in the basin of the Tennessee River. The rest of the state drains southward into the Gulf of Mexico, mainly through the Pearl[?], Pascagoula[?], and Tombigbee[?] rivers.
Natchez Trace Parkway[?], which runs approximately 300 miles southwest to northeast across Mississippi from Natchez in Adams County, then west and north of Jackson, then north past Kosciusko and Starkville, near Pontotoc and Tupelo, where the Parkway headquarters are located, until it enters northwest Alabama from Tishomingo County.
Additionally, Mississippi's four barrier islands, Horn Island[?], Cat Island[?], East[?] and West Ship Islands[?], and Petit Bois Islands[?] form part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore[?] adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.
Racial Makeup: Until about 1940 African Americans made up a majority of Mississippians. Currently, however, blacks only consists of about 33 percent of the population. A few thousand Indians (mostly Choctaw) live in the east central section of the state. The small Chinese population found in the Delta[?] is descended from farm laborers brought there from California in the 1870s. The Chinese did not adjust well to the Mississippi plantation system, however, and most of them became small merchants. The coastal fishing industry has attracted Southeast Asian refugees.
The white population of Mississippi is remarkably homogeneous. More than 98 percent native-born of native stock, whites are predominantly of British, Irish, and northern European. The black, Choctaw Indian, and Chinese segments of the population are also almost entirely native-born.
Religious Makeup: Mississippi's religious affiliations largely consist of Protestant denominations, particularly Baptists and United Methodists. The Roman Catholic population is found primarily in urban areas and on the Gulf Coast. The Jewish population is also mainly concentrated in urban areas.
See also: List of famous Mississippians