Mississippi is an old state with a long history and many interesting facts. While Mississippi may not be a famous state, it can lay claim to several important events and some lesser-known trivia that might impress your friends at a dinner party.
Mississippi is located along the lower Mississippi river, which forms its western border. It is one of the poorest states in the country, with the lowest per-capita income, and a large portion of its income is from farming. Mississippi is one of the largest cotton-producing states in the country and produces more farmed catfish than any other state. Mississippi became an important state during the Civil War and was the capital of the Confederacy during a lot of its brief existence.
Mississippi has a long history, and so it has many interesting names associated with historical people and events. Even the name of the state itself has an interesting past. Of course, Mississippi is named after the river, but the river got its name from the Algonquin Indians, who called it “Great River”, or Misi-ziibi.
The capital of Mississippi, Jackson, is named for General (later president) Andrew Jackson after he helped win the war of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans. The battle was fought in January 1815, days after the Treaty of Ghent was signed. This treaty ended the war; however, it had not been ratified at the time of the fight, making it the last battle of the war.
The teddy bear was named after Theodore Roosevelt. In 1902, President Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear that had been captured, saying that it was unsportsmanlike. The story became national news and the subject of many political cartoons. Eventually, a store in New York featured stuffed bears named after “Teddy” in their shop window, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mississippi was the site of 26 named and well-known battles, but many more-perhaps as many as 700 unnamed, smaller battles and skirmishes. Some of the most famous battles of the civil war took place in this state, including the siege of Vicksburg. This battle took place at nearly the same time as Gettysburg, and together they were the most important two battles of the war.
The Mississippi River is located on a fault line called the New Madrid Fault. In 1811 and 1812 three large earthquakes happened along this fault, believed to have been at least magnitude seven. While the fault line is named for New Madrid, MO, it extends southward through Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
First Coke Bottling Plant
The first Coca-Cola bottling plant was established in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1894. The flavor of Coke originally came from the kola nut from Africa and cocaine. Of course, there is no cocaine in our soft drinks today, but the name has stuck.
Marijuana Research Project
The Marijuana Research Project, housed at the University of Mississippi, is a federally recognized cannabis research facility that has grown and studied marijuana for its potential medical benefits. The program was federally funded and for years was the only such program that worked with the DEA to grow this plant. Today, other farmers in Mississippi can also grow cannabis if they submit a Mississippi cannabis application and acquire a license.
Barq’s Root Beer
In 1898, Barq’s Root Beer was founded in Biloxi, MS. The owner started a bottling company in New Orleans, which he later moved to Biloxi before debuting his root beer. During prohibition, when alcohol was illegal, soda companies like Barq’s thrived and grew a large customer base.
First Women’s College
Mississippi was home to the first public women’s college, which opened in 1884 with an opening class of around 250 students. The Mississippi University for Women was originally a white-only college liberal arts college. Today, both women and men are accepted.
Oldest Town on the Mississippi
The oldest town on the Mississippi river, Natchez, was founded in 1716 and is now the southern end of the Natchez National Historical Trail. This trail follows the path of the Natchez Trace, one of the oldest human paths in the country. This trail was well-known and used before settlers arrived and many native American villages and towns were located along it. The oldest colonial settlement on the river was built in 1699 by the Frenchman Pierre d’ilberville.
Longest Manmade Beach
The longest manmade beach in the world is in Mississippi, and it stretches from Biloxi to Henderson point. That is 26 miles of white, sandy beach for tourists and residents to enjoy. Because the natural wave action of the ocean continually displaces sand, the beach is always in a state of reorganization, with sand being replaced and rearranged regularly.
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