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How Mississippi Became A State?

Learn the intriguing history of How Mississippi Became A State. Uncover the fascinating journey to statehood in our in-depth guide!

Author:Celeste Pearl
Reviewer:Kelly Hayes
Mar 27, 2024
There’s a long story of how Mississippi became a state. After thousands of years of different Native American groups living in the area, European forces swept in during the 1500s. From that time until the late 1700s, Spain, France, and England all claimed parts of the area that is now Mississippi.
It took almost twenty years for Mississippi to become the twentieth state of the United States after the country bought it in the late 1700s. Congress made the Mississippi Territory official on April 7, 1798. Spain had claimed a lot of the land, but by 1795, it had given up a lot of its claims.
At first, this area was just a narrow strip of land between the Mississippi and Chattahoochee Rivers. But by 1812, it included all of what are now the states of Mississippi and Alabama. The local government was run by a governor, three judges, and a secretary who also acted as a council. As soon as a certain amount of people lived in the territory, it could apply for the second territorial stage, which came with an elected assembly and a representative to Congress. At some point, a region could try to become a state.

History Of Mississippi

Native Americans have lived in Mississippi for thousands of years, so the state has a long past. Archeological digs and the remains of earthwork mounds made thousands of years ago have been the main ways that evidence of their societies has been found. Native American customs were passed down through oral records. Europeans wrote down the stories of the ancient people they met.
Since the end of the 20th century, Native American groups have been studied more, and their oral histories have been used to record their cultures. Their stories have been linked to proof of natural events. The French were the first people to settle in the area, but they would later give up control of parts of it to Spain and Great Britain, especially along the Gulf Coast.
The first large groups of European-American residents came to the area in the early 1800s. Many Africans were brought to America as enslaved people by some European-American residents so they could work on cotton farms along major riverfronts. Mississippi became a state of the U.S.U.S. on December 10, 1817.
Most of the Choctaw and Chickasaw people who lived in the area were made to move west of the Mississippi River by the federal government in the 1830s. Along the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, American farmers built an economy based on exporting cotton that was grown by enslaved people.
Mississippi left the Union in 1861 because a small group of wealthy farmers held most of the state's best land, money, and government. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), long fights took place in its river towns more than anywhere else. When the Confederacy ended in 1865, Mississippi entered the Reconstruction era.
Location Of
Location Of

How Mississippi Became A State - Exploration And Settlement

Hernando de Soto, a Spanish adventurer, took a big group into Mississippi in the winter of 1540 and spent the season along the Pontotoc Ridge. He got to the Mississippi River the following spring, but the Spanish didn't go there because he didn't find any gold or silver there. Instead, they went somewhere else.
After about 130 years, a small group of French Canadians went down the Mississippi River and knew right away how important it was for trade and military purposes. It was Pierre le Moyne d'Iberville who led a French journey in 1699 that proved France's claim to the lower Mississippi Valley. Soon, French people lived in Fort Maurepas, Mobile, Biloxi, Fort Rosalie, and New Orleans.
When the French and Indian War finished in 1763, France gave Great Britain all of its land east of the Mississippi River except for New Orleans. Great Britain also took over the Spanish region of Florida. After that, Great Britain split Florida into two kingdoms. The area between the Apalachicola and Mississippi rivers was part of West Florida.
Fort Rosalie was changed its name to Fort Panmure, and the Natchez District was made a part of West Florida. In the early 1770s, Natchez did very well. Spain took back control of Florida and controlled Natchez after the American Revolution (1775–1783).
The 31st parallel was set as the border between Spanish Florida and the United States by the Peace of Paris treaties in 1783. However, Spain continued to control Natchez until the issue was settled in 1798.

Mississippi State History

People from long ago, like the Mound Builders and the Mississippian culture, lived on the land that is now the state of Mississippi. These cultures died out over time, and Native American groups took their place.

Native Americans

When Europeans came to Mississippi, they found several Native American groups living there. The Chickasaw, the Choctaw, and the Natchez were the three most powerful tribes. It was thought that the Chickasaw and the Choctaw were connected. They were both from the Muskogean language group, which was eventually known as the "Five Civilized Tribes." The Natchez people lived in the southwestern part of Mississippi. A lot of them fished and farmed.

Europeans Arrive

In 1540, the Spanish traveler Hernando de Soto was the first person from Europe to go to the Mississippi. La Salle, a French traveler, came back to the area more than 100 years later and claimed it for France. That is, he claimed the land for Spain. At that time, Mississippi was thought to be a part of a more extensive area called Louisiana.

Early Settlers

Fort Maurepas was the first area where Europeans lived permanently. Pierre d'Iberville, a Frenchman, set it up in 1699. In the early 1700s, the French kept building trade posts and forts in the area. This included LeFleur's Bluff, which would become Jackson in the end.

Becoming A State

After the French and Indian War, the British took over the Mississippi area. After the Revolutionary War, it was given back to the United States. Mississippi became a U.S.U.S. state in 1798, and Natchez was named its central city. The land kept getting bigger, and it was essential in the War of 1812. The U.S.U.S. Congress added the 20th state on December 10, 1817. Natchez was the first capital, but it moved around a few times in the first few years. In 1822, Jackson became the capital.


In Mississippi in the 1800s, big cotton farms were the primary source of income. Plantation owners bought enslaved people from Africa so they could have people to work in the fields. Soon, the state had more enslaved people than free people. That year, 1860, 791,305 people were living in Mississippi. About 55% of them were slaves (436,631). This was right before the Civil War.

Civil War

When northern states started to outlaw slavery, farm owners in Mississippi started to worry about their businesses. They thought they had to enslave people to make money. There was a war called the Civil War in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln became president. Mississippi broke away from the U.S.U.S. and joined the Confederacy. They were one of the first states to join the Confederacy and the second state to leave the Union.
Raised Flag Of Mississippi
Raised Flag Of Mississippi

Mississippi Since The Mid-20th Century

People in Mississippi were finally able to focus on developing the state's natural and people resources after getting used to the significant changes in society in the middle of the 20th century. In the 1970s, economic growth was happening at a slow but steady rate.
Migration out of Mississippi had almost stopped for white people, and it had slowed down a lot for black people. Even though the income per person was still lower than the national average, it had gone up a lot because more people were moving to cities, factories were opening, and jobs in agriculture were going away.
The rise of the two-party system went hand-in-hand with and helped this progress in both the economy and society. Before the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party was the only party that could run the state's government. But since then, the Republican Party has been a threat to the party that used to be in charge at every level.
Because of this change, the political fight in Mississippi is no longer about defending old customs but about new ideas. Mississippi's limited natural resources, years of relying on agriculture, and racial discrimination left a lasting mark. However, by the early 21st century, the state had made great strides toward overcoming the attitudes and traits that had been holding back its social, economic, and political growth for so long.
Old Flag of Mississippi
Old Flag of Mississippi

From World War I Through The Civil Rights Movement

Mississippi was no longer physically and mentally alone during World War I (1914–18), and patriotism erased a lot of the anger from the Civil War. From World War I to World War II (1939–1945), the state went through an economic crisis in the 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s, limits on farm production, and more urbanization. After WWII, farming was changed by government programs and technology.
The Supreme Court made it illegal for schools to be separated in 1954. That decision started years of court battles against racial segregation and a lot of black people in the South signing up to vote. A 14-year-old black boy from Chicago named Emmett Till was killed in Mississippi in 1955 for reportedly whistling at a white woman in a grocery store. The conviction of his white killers shocked the country and fueled the civil rights movement.
In the early 1960s, white people in Mississippi reacted violently to marches, gatherings, and protests by black people. In 1962, state officials refused to let black student James H. Meredith into the University of Mississippi, even though the Supreme Court had ordered them to.
The Mississippi color barrier was broken when Meredith was let in after two people were killed in a night of violence. Three young civil rights workers—two white and one black—were killed by the Ku Klux Klan during the "long, hot summer" of 1964. Their bodies were hidden in a half-built dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Even though it was against the law, Mississippi kept many separate schools until the late 1960s. The last step was a federal court decision in October 1969 that desegregated and united the state's schools.
Most white people in Mississippi were against school integration, but there wasn't much violence as a result. Over the next few decades, Mississippi's strong and progressive leaders led the state from a time of social conservatism to a time when black and white people worked together more.

How Mississippi Became A State - FAQs

What Led To Mississippi Becoming A State?

Mississippi became a state in 1817 after drafting its first constitution and resolving territorial governance issues.

Who Owned Mississippi Before The U.S.?

Mississippi was owned by various European powers, including France and Britain, before becoming a U.S.U.S. territory.

What Was Mississippi Before It Was A State?

Mississippi was a U.S.U.S. territory known as the Mississippi Territory before achieving statehood.

Why Did Alabama And Mississippi Split?

Alabama and Mississippi split into separate territories due to population growth and the desire for more localized governance in 1817.


The journey of Mississippi from its early territorial days to its eventual statehood is a testament to the complex and evolving history of the United States. It is a story marked by the interplay of Native American cultures, European exploration, colonial rule, and the enduring struggle for self-governance. From the Mississippi Compromise to its involvement in the Civil War and the civil rights movement, the state has faced numerous challenges and changes over the years.
How Mississippi became a state is a multifaceted narrative that reflects the broader history of the nation. It serves as a reminder that the path to statehood is often a tumultuous one, shaped by the dynamics of the time. Mississippi's history, with all its triumphs and tribulations, is an essential part of the American story.
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Celeste Pearl

Celeste Pearl

Celeste Pearl is an accomplished writer and expert in numerology, astrology, and spirituality. With a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and over 6 years of writing experience, Celeste brings a wealth of expertise to her articles, making complex topics accessible and engaging for readers. Her passion for metaphysical sciences is evident in her insightful content, where she explores the depths of these subjects with clarity and depth. Beyond her professional pursuits, Celeste enjoys delving into spiritual practices and connecting with nature for inspiration.
Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes is a seasoned journalist with over 10 years of experience, specializing in news reporting and horoscope analysis. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from New York University, enhancing her credibility and expertise in the field. Kelly's writing style is characterized by clarity, depth, and a commitment to delivering credible information. Her published works across various platforms showcase her knack for engaging storytelling and insightful analysis. Readers trust Kelly's expertise in both current events and astrological interpretations, making her a sought-after authority in journalism. Apart from her professional activities, Kelly enjoys exploring new cultures, practicing yoga, and engaging in philanthropic activities.
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