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In 1716, at modern Natchez, the French built Fort Rosalie, the first permanent white settlement in Miss. and the scene of the Natchez War. Miss. was acquired by Britain in 1763 and by the US in 1783. On 7 April 1798, Congress created Mississippi Territory, which included Ala. When Miss. entered the Union on 10 December 1817, as the 20th state, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians held about two-thirds of the state. After the Indians sold their last lands in 1832 and went to Okla., settlement accelerated rapidly.
By 1860, when Miss. grew 25 percent of all US cotton, it had 791,305 people, of whom 55 percent were slaves and 1 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 14th among states in population, 10th in the value of its farmland and livestock, and 28th in manufactures. Miss. became the third CSA state on 9 January 1861. In the Civil War, it furnished 78,000 CSA troops and 18,414 USA soldiers (545 white and 17,869 black). Miss. was the site of 772 military actions, more than all but three other states (Va., Tenn., and Mo.).
In July 1865, Andrew Johnson instituted a provisional civilian government, which abolished slavery, but refused to let freedmen vote, enacted a severe black code (see black codes), and rejected the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments. Washington imposed military rule in March 1867, but restored self-government and congressional representation on 23 February 1870. Republican control ended five-and-a-half years later on 3 November 1875. Miss. disfranchised most blacks in 1890 and later erected a strict system of segregation.
In 1900 it was the 20th largest state and had 1,551,270 people, of whom 92 percent were rural, 59 percent were black, and 1 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 18th among states in the value of its agricultural goods and 39th in manufactures. From 1920 to 1970, it lost 1,324,900 out-migrants, mostly blacks moving to northern cities, and the racial composition shifted greatly.
During the civil rights movement, Governor Ross Barnett's refusal to permit James Meredith to enroll at the University of Mississippi led to massive violence there in 1962. State and local officials long resisted federal court orders to implement provisions of the various Civil Rights acts. Desegregation of state colleges proceeded slowly, and in 1992, while ruling upon Ayers v. Fordice, the Supreme Court held that Miss. had not yet eliminated the vestiges of racial separation in higher education, and ordered it to devise a workable plan to achieve integration.
Miss. ranked as the 31st largest state in 1990, when its population was 2,573,216 (63 percent white, 35 percent black, 1 percent Hispanic, 1 percent Asian), of whom 30 percent were urban and 0.8 percent were foreign-born. Manufacturing and mining employed 30 percent of the work force.