45 Interesting Facts About Mississippi

Last updated on September 24th, 2022

Mississippi is the 34th most populous and the 32nd most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the southeastern region of the United States. The state attained statehood on December 10, 1817, becoming the 20th state to join the union. Its four bordering states are Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas. See the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. Mississippi (nicknamed: the Magnolia State and the Hospitality State) has 82 counties. The state’s capital is Jackson. The abbreviation for Mississippi is MS. With these facts about Mississippi, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

Mississippi facts

1. The French established the first permanent settlement in present-day Mississippi in 1699.[4] Before the arrival of the Europeans, three groups of people inhabited the place: the Natchez, the Chickasaw, and the Choctaw.

2. On January 9, 1861, MS became the second southern state to declare its secession from the United States of America.[17]

3. The name of the state is derived from the Mississippi River. The settlers in the region named the state from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (meaning “Great River”).[1] The Mississippi River forms the western boundary of the state and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.[2]

Mississippi on the map


4. Did you know that the world record for keeping an airplane airborne for the longest duration is held by Brothers Fred and Al Key, aka “the Flying Keys” of Meridian, Mississippi? The duo was able to accomplish the longest airborne flight and keep the airplane airborne for 27 days, 5 hours, and 34 minutes. After two failed attempts, they took off from Meridian Municipal Airport on June 4, 1935, and landed the plane safely on July 1, 1935. The airport was later renamed Key Field in their honor.[25]

5. On average, Mississippi is affected by 27 tornadoes each year. Also, note that two of the five deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history have occurred in the state.[1]

6. The world’s first human lung transplant was performed by Dr. James Hardy at the University Of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson on June 11, 1963. However, the recipient, unfortunately, survived for only 18 days.[5]

7. Elvis Presley (“The King of Rock and Roll”), born on January 08, 1935, regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century was born in Tupelo, MS.[8]

8. “Memorial Day” or “Decoration Day” finds its origin in Columbus, MS. Women on April 25, 1866, decorated the graves of both the Confederate and Union soldiers in Friendship Cemetery in the city, marking the beginning of the celebration of the day in the honor of those who lost their lives while serving in the United States armed forces.[13]

Mississippi on the map
Mississippi (in red) on the map with bordering states.

9. Did you know that established in 1884, “Mississippi University for Women” was the first public college for Women in the United States?[24,26]

10. More than 50% of the area of the state is covered by wild or cultivated trees.[1]

11. Oprah Winfrey, the famous TV host was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States.[3]

12. The state has the highest percentage of black residents (more than 35%) of any U.S. state.[1,10]

13. It is noteworthy that MS is home to NASA’s largest rocket engine test facility – The John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) located in Hancock County.[19]

14. Mississippi produces more than 50% of America’s farm-raised catfish. The other top catfish-producing states include Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. Belzoni, Mississippi is also known as the “Catfish Capital of the World.”[4,6]

Flag of Mississippi

The state flag of Mississippi.
The state flag of Mississippi.

15. Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S. The state has the lowest average income among the 50 U.S. states. However, the state has some of the nicest and most generous people in the country.[7]

16. Did you know that the patent for soft toilet seat cover belongs to David Harrison of Columbus, Mississippi? At least 1 million of these covers are sold every year. He was granted the patent on Feb 4, 1975.[22]

17. After the Missouri River, the Mississippi River is the second largest river of the United States. It is 3,778 km long. The Mississippi River lies entirely within the United States.[9]

Coca Cola

18. Did you know that the first bottling of coca-cola began in 1894 in Vicksburg, Mississippi?[14]

19. Did you know that the name of the state’s capital city was adopted from the name of General Andrew Jackson (was honored for his role in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812)? Andrew Jackson later became the 7th president of the United States. See the full list of the presidents of the U.S. here.[18]

20. Did you know that more than 750 Civil War battles were fought in Mississippi? And unfortunately, the capital city Jackson was burnt down three times during the period.

21. Britney Spears, the famous American pop singer was born in McComb, MS.[21]

22. Jackson, Miss. along with Helsinki (Finland), Moscow (Russia) and Varna (Bulgaria) are the only 4 cities in the world officially sanctioned to host the International Ballet Competition. In 1978, the nonprofit corporation, Mississippi Ballet International, Inc. (MBI), was created to produce the first International Ballet Competition in the United States.[23]

23. Greenwood, MS is known as the “Cotton Capital of the World”.

A jug of milk and glass of milk.
A jug of milk and glass of milk.

24. Milk is the state beverage of Mississippi and of other 21 states including Arkansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and others.[11]

25. The world’s only cactus plantation is located in Mississippi.[12]

26. Miss. is 340 miles long and 170 miles wide.[15]

27. At 806 feet, Woodland Mountain is the highest point in the state. The lowest point in Mississippi is along the shore at the Gulf of Mexico.[15,16]

28. According to a source, there are about 825 cotton farms in the state that produce over 1.4 million bales annually. Moreover, cotton production was valued at $562 million in 2017.[20]

29. Sardis Lake is the largest lake in the state.

The White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
The White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

30. The population of the White-tailed Deer, which is estimated to exceed 1.75 million in the state, is higher on a deer-per-unit-area basis (density) than any other state, and only Texas has a greater number of deer. Nationally, the population of the White-tailed deer exceeds 30 million.[27]

31. Did you know that life expectancy at birth in Mississippi is the lowest of all states and has historically been low?[28]

The Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex
The Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. Interesting facts about Mississippi. Image credit – Tara Tyler.

32. An underrated space of Holly Spring is Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. Professional BMX rider Daniel Dhers founded this 37,000-square-foot facility. This complex is the largest place to accommodate indoor and outdoor sports activities. So, if you are into sports, then don’t forget to plan your full-day trip there.

33. If you have read the novel “The Optimist’s Daughter by Welty,” you should know that Author Eudora Welty was born and raised in Jackson, Miss., in 1909. She is one of the renowned writers of the 20th Century. For this novel, she won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and honored the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and later, she received the National Medal of Arts (it is the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.)

34. No one can stand still when Rock and Roll are played in any party or club, as it’s hard to resist your dancing temptation. Rock and Roll is a world-famous music genre, which was first coined in Cleveland. Some people think that Chuck Berry innovated this music. However, disc jockey Alan Freed was the one who played this music style the very first time in 1951. Many of you already know that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is also situated in Mainland.

35. Biloxi is well-known for fun activities. If you are searching for peace and want to stretch your feet in a relaxing atmosphere, then the breathtaking scenery of Biloxi’s white Sandy beach could be your next spot. There is a new boardwalk alongside the beach that lets you hold your partner’s hand and walk miles and miles of this refreshing place.

36. Do you know that Hattiesburg has a nickname? Not really? Ok, then it’s time to know that Hattiesburg is also called “Hub City,” and it gets that name through the result of a newspaper contest in 1912. This city is an interaction hub for various essential rail lines. U.S Highway 49, U.S Highway 11, Interstate 59, and U.S Highway 98 all intersect near this city. So, it’s a connecting point for many highways in the USA.

37. If you have ever been to New Albany, you probably go to The Washington Park to inhale some fresh air in the morning. No doubt, that park has its attractions, but next time you set your foot over it, don’t forget to think about those over 40,000 dead bodies that were buried there once. Oh yes, you heard it right, Washington Park was built on a burial ground in the 1840s. After knowing that you won’t plan to walk there at night, this decision is totally understandable. That fact will haunt you for the rest of your life, isn’t it?

38. If you are a candid speaker and supporter of the go-green world, you should pay a visit to Mockingbird Cafe in Bay St.Louis because it’s the first plastic-free restaurant. It could be your next healthy breakfast spot in Gulfport where you can order a tasty omelet, lemon feta shortbread cookie, and one-and-only kind locally roasted coffee. Not a morning person? It’s good to go there on the last Friday of the month to tap on a fun-filled Mr. Atticus night that will unlock fun, music, tapas, and art for you.

A locomotive with tankers in the U.S.
Kansas City Southern SD70ACes 4183 and 4045 lead westbound CP train 575 along the upper Mississippi at Maple Springs, Minn. KCS power is becoming common on trains coming up from Kansas City. Interesting facts about Mississippi. Image credit – Jerry Huddleston

39. Many people are well-aware of another name of Meridian, FYI Queen City; however, what they don’t know is the main reason behind this name. Why is Meridian called “The Queen City.” If you think that’s because The Queen of the East by Mayor Dial, who is also known as Meridian Mayor of the Golden Age during the 1990s, then it’s not the right answer. Other people try to create a connection between Gypsy Queen of North America with Meridian, but again, it’s not true. The fact is that Meridian and railroads have been a synonym for each other for almost 75 years. The community of this city witnessed growth due to the establishment of a railroad. No more nickname confusion, right?

40. Whenever you think of Vicksburg, the first thing that pops up in your mind is Vicksburg’s Battle. A lot of history stuff is there to check for. But what you don’t know about this historical city is that it’s an attraction point for UFO sighters. If you believe in aliens and are ready to witness their existence, you should plan a visit to this city as hundreds of UFO sightings welcome you here.

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