Mississippi is an American southern state east of the
Mississippi River. It borders Tennessee to the north and
to the east. To the south, the state has shorelines on the Gulf
of Mexico and, on the western side of the Mississippi River, are
Arkansas and Louisiana. It is nicknamed The Magnolia State.
Mississippi has historically been a state dominated by farms and small towns, and dependent on agriculture and ranching. Currently, however, it has a relatively diversified economy, with a growing manufacturing industry and tourism. It is considered the poorest state in the country, with relatively high unemployment and poverty rates, and the lowest per capita income in the country.
The name Mississippi comes from a word in the Ojibwa language, meaning "great waters" or "father of waters." Some nicknames for Mississippi are the Magnolia State and the Hospitality State.
Mississippi was initially colonized by the Spanish, but annexed by the United Kingdom under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. With the independence of the Thirteen Colonies, the Mississippi region became part of the newly created United States of America. The Territory of Mississippi was created in 1798, and, as present-day Mississippi, was elevated to statehood on December 10, 1817. Mississippi prospered economically, and was for decades one of the richest states in the country. Mississippi seceded from the United States in 1861, joining the Confederate States of America, being one of the states most affected by the American Civil War. The civil war, even so, did not end the latifundist economy or the subjection of both the Afro-descendant population and the vast majority of landless whites. This, despite a sustained program of works and subsidies by the nation, prevented the adequate development of socioeconomic conditions until after 1960 and its socioeconomic effects can still be seen in the state to this day.
Mississippi Capital River
Located in the southwest.
Jackson (Mississippi) · Vicksburg
Extends west along the river.
The east of the state.
Southernmost region along the Gulf of Mexico.
Located in the northeast.
Natchez Trace is an ancient road system that was created by the Native Americans and later was used by the European settlers.
the regions close to the river banks are very vulnerable to flooding.
The most densely populated regions near the river are protected by dams.
The Mississippi River watershed covers the entire western and
north-central part of the state. The rivers located in the Eastern
Mississippi region flow directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
Forests cover about 55% of the state. Mississippi is characterized by its low altitude. No part of the state is located above 250 meters above sea level. The state's terrain is generally relatively flat, without major geographical features.
Mississippi can be divided into three distinct geographic regions:
The Mississippi Floodplains cover a narrow strip of land located along the Mississippi River. This region is extremely flat, with very few geographical features. It is extremely vulnerable to overflows from the Mississippi River. These floods, despite being able to cause great damage to urban communities, deposit large amounts of sediment in this region, which makes the soil of this region extremely fertile and ideal for the practice of agriculture.
The Western Gulf Coast Plains occupy most of the rest of Mississippi, and is the largest of the three geographic regions. This region is characterized by its relatively uneven terrain, covered with flattened elevations and small low-lying hills, and relatively fertile soil. The largest of these hills, Woodall Mountain, is the highest point in the state at 246 meters above sea level. Much of the Western Plains is covered by forest.
The Black Belt is a narrow strip of land located in the eastern region of Mississippi. It is a prairie region, flat and with poor soil, compared to the rest of the state.
Mississippi has a subtropical climate, with long, hot summers and
short winters. During winter, the temperature decreases as you travel
north. Mississippi's average winter temperature is 8°C. The average
temperature in southern Mississippi is 10°C, and in the north it is 5°C.
In general, the average minimum for Mississippi in the winter is 3 °C,
and the average maximum is 15 °C. Temperatures rarely fall below -10°C.
The lowest temperature recorded in Mississippi was -28°C in Corinth on
January 30, 1966.
In the summer, the average temperature increases as you travel westward, although the temperature variation is minimal between one region of the state and another. Mississippi's average temperature during the summer is 27°C. The average temperature in the western region of the state is 28 °C, and in the east, 26 °C. In general, Mississippi's average summer low is 21°C and average high is 34°C. The highest temperature recorded in Mississippi was 46°C, in Holly Springs, on July 29, 1930.
Mississippi's average annual precipitation rate decreases as you travel north, ranging from 130 centimeters in the northwest of the state to more than 165 centimeters annually in the south. Snow is a rare phenomenon in Mississippi, occurring mainly in the north of the state. However, frost and hail are relatively common in the state. These weather events cause millions of dollars in losses each year in Mississippi's agricultural sector. Hurricanes are also common in the state.
Jackson Evers International Airport (IATA: JAN) . largest airport in the state.
Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (IATA: GPT) . Airport of the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport.
In the street
I10: New Orleans LA - Slidell LA - Biloxi MS - Mobile AL
I20: Shreveport LA - Bossier City LA - Jackson MS - Meridian MS - Tuscaloosa AL
I55: Hammond LA - Jackson MS - Memphis TN
I59: Slidell LA - Meridian MS - Tuscaloosa AL
Three different tribes of Native Americans lived in the region that
is present-day Mississippi, before the arrival of the first European
explorers to the region. These tribes were the Chickasaw (called
Chicazas by the Spanish), who lived in the central region of present-day
Mississippi, the Choctaw, who lived in the north and east, and the
Natchez, who lived in the southwest. The Native American population in
Mississippi, at the time the first European explorers arrived in the
region, is estimated at 25,000 to 30,000.
The first European explorers to reach the region considered part of Florida were members of the Spanish expedition commanded by Hernando de Soto in 1541. De Soto and his expedition explored a region devoid of natural resources such as gold, spices, etc., for which they did not found any settlement. The region would remain unexplored by Europeans until 1692, when Frenchman Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville founded the first permanent settlement in present-day Mississippi, where Ocean Springs is currently located. Meanwhile, the Frenchman René Robert Cavelier had already claimed the region for the French crown, in 1682, when he claimed the entire region of the Mississippi River watershed.
In 1716, Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne founded the second permanent European settlement in the region, Fort Rosalie, near the present-day city of Natchez. The French began the trade of animal skins with the natives of the region, and the cultivation of tobacco and rice. French slavers were the first to introduce slavery to Mississippi around 1722.
The Scottish economist John Law began a project to increase the population of the region at the beginning of the 17th century. However, this project failed, and the people who invested money in it lost everything invested. But this project, whose suspension of payments was reported in the United Kingdom, attracted various English and Scots to Mississippi. These settlers founded several settlements under alternate Spanish and French jurisdiction, such as Old Biloxi, New Biloxi (present-day Biloxi) and Fort Louis de la Mobile (present-day Mobile). Despite this, the settlement of the Mississippi region was relatively small, and few people were interested in settling in the region, due to frequent attacks by the natives, and the disagreements between the French and the United Kingdom, which claimed the region.
In 1730, the Natchez began an armed rebellion against the French. The reaction was harsh. The French attacked quickly, massacring the vast majority of the tribesmen, including women and children. Six years after the genocide, in 1736, the Chickasaw, aided by the English, defeated the French militias in the northeast of present-day Mississippi, taking control of the Mississippi River from the French. In 1763, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the French ceded the region to England. The southern region became part of the English territory of West Florida, while the rest of present-day Mississippi became part of Georgia.
In 1775, the American War of Independence began. The inhabitants of the West Florida region, most of British descent, remained largely loyal to the British crown, while traders (mainly British and French) and natives of the north-central region of present-day Mississippi supported the rebels Spain, which supported the rebels during the armed revolution, took the region of West Florida and East Florida from the English – with an army under the command of Bernardo de Gálvez – without major difficulties, in 1781. Two years later, in 1783, The war for independence ended, and under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the British had to cede the region of West Florida to Spain, and the rest of present-day Mississippi—the region above the 32nd parallel—to the Americans. They immediately began to claim the 31st parallel as their border, and the Spanish accepted the Americans' claim in 1795.
In 1798, the United States created the Mississippi Territory, which began to develop rapidly from 1803, that is, after the Louisiana Purchase was carried out, which gave the United States complete control over the Mississippi River, and stimulated the settlement of the region. In 1803, the U.S. government ceded lands north of the Mississippi Territory to join the Territory. Mississippi would grow in area again in 1812, when a portion of West Florida was annexed by the United States. At the time, the Territory of Mississippi was made up of the entire region that currently makes up Mississippi, as well as the neighboring state of Alabama.
In 1817, the US Congress made the eastern region of the then Territory of Mississippi a new territory, the Territory of Alabama. On December 10 of the same year, Mississippi was elevated to statehood, becoming the 20th American state.
Initially, the capital of Mississippi was Columbia, changing a few
years later to Natchez and Washington, until it was definitively changed
to Jackson, in 1822. The Americans, during the 1810s until the 1830s,
gradually forced the Indians to settle in Mississippi to leave the
state. There were no armed conflicts over the possession of the lands in
the region, and the natives left the state peacefully, although
forcibly. The vast majority of Native Americans moved to what was then
called Indian Territory—now the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The departure of
the natives left vast amounts of land free for cultivation, which
attracted large numbers of people to Mississippi.
In the late 1830s, Mississippi was a major American agrarian center. The state owned large estates, which mainly grew cotton for export. These large estates depended on slave labor, as relatively cheap labor. Until the early 1860s, Mississippi was considered one of the richest states in the country.
Most of the population of Mississippi supported the use of slave labor, on which the state's economy depended, as in other states of the American South. Until the 1830s, most of Mississippi's population was against possible separation from the rest of the country. However, in less than three decades, the population of Mississippi became increasingly accepting of the state's secession from the rest of the United States, because of the growing abolitionist force in the United States, which threatened the structure of the slave economy. of Mississippi. In January 1861, members of the Mississippi Legislature met in a constitutional convention, and decided to secede from the United States, becoming the second American state to do so, after South Carolina. In February, Mississippi joined with ten other states that seceded from the United States, becoming part of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was chosen as the first President of the Confederacy. The same year, the American Civil War would begin.
Approximately 80,000 Mississippi men served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Mississippi was the scene of several important battles and conflicts between Confederate and Union troops - the United States proper. The largest of these battles was the Battle of Vicksburg, which occurred on July 4, 1863, when the Confederate fort at Vicksburg was captured by Union troops commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant. The battles and conflicts carried out in Mississippi caused great destruction in the cities and countryside of the state. Mississippi's economy was completely ruined after the end of the war in 1865, due to the blockade of Confederate ports and inflation, and the mass flight of slaves. Mississippi, until then one of the richest states in the United States, has since been among the poorest states in the country.
Mississippi, after the end of the Civil War, became administered by the military. After the adoption of a new state Constitution in 1870, Mississippi was readmitted as a US state in 1870. Not only was slavery abolished throughout the United States, but the US government imposed a state government composed of blacks and whites. , which was seen as a humiliation by the state's white population. In 1876, the military government imposed by the American government ruling Mississippi was withdrawn, and the residents of the state regained control of the Mississippi government. Gradually, blacks lost many of the rights they had gained after the end of the Civil War.
Meanwhile, Mississippi's economy would take decades to recover from the destruction caused by the Civil War, returning to prewar levels only in the 1890s, growing more vigorously beginning in the early 1900s, when the The state's economy began to diversify, with the construction of factories and railway lines. Forestry also became an important source of income for Mississippi. The peak of the state's economic growth during the beginning of the 20th century occurred during the First World War, thanks to the increase in international demand for industrialized products.
During the 1900s, Mississippi carried out various socio-educational reforms. In 1908, the state instituted an agrarian system of secondary schools, to try to reduce the deficiencies in the educational system in the rural areas of the state. In 1912, Mississippi moved to ban the use of child labor. In 1916, an adult education program was begun, which sought to reduce the high illiteracy rates among the state's adult population. In 1924, Mississippi established its current department of education.
In 1927, a large flood of the Mississippi River caused nearly one hundred thousand people who lived along the river to flee the area. Although no one died, the floods caused nearly $204 million in damages, one of the most expensive natural disasters in American history.
During the early 1930s, Mississippi was hit hard by the Great Depression, which caused bankruptcy in many commercial and industrial establishments, unemployment, and indebtedness among farmers. The state reacted by creating a program called Balancing Agriculture With Industry, to stimulate greater diversification of the state's economy, and reduce its dependence on agriculture, which was still clearly the state's largest source of income. . The program, aided by the discovery of oil reserves in 1939 and 1940, caused the economy to largely recover around 1940, helping to spur industrialization of the state. The following year, in 1941, the United States would enter World War II, and Mississippi began to industrialize rapidly. This growth continued after the end of the war in 1945.
Until 1954, Mississippi's educational institutions were segregated.
This year, the United States Supreme Court ordered the end of
segregation in all educational institutions in all states where
segregation between whites and African Americans existed. Much of
Mississippi's white population was against the end of segregation. The
process of racial integration in the state's schools was very slow and
gradual, and one of the most violent in the country. In 1962, two people
died in a popular uprising, when James Meredith became the first black
to be admitted to the University of Mississippi. In 1964, three members
of the black Civil Rights Movement were murdered. It was this year when
the state's first public schools were integrated, ten years after the
Supreme Court order. In 1969, a good part of the state's schools were
still segregated, when the Supreme Court, considering this process as
slow and inefficient in Mississippi, ordered the immediate integration
of the state's schools, which were fully integrated in December of the
same year. .
Despite the industrialization that occurred during and after World War II, Mississippi's industry was still very weak, and the state was still very dependent on agriculture and ranching. Many farmers, for their part, became unemployed due to the increasing modernization of the state's farms, which decreased the demand for labor in the agricultural sector. Mississippi created various measures during the 1950s and 1960s to try to stimulate greater industrialization. In 1954, workers were no longer required to join unions when they were hired. In 1960, Mississippi drastically lowered taxes on industrial establishments located in the state. At the end of the 1960s, more people worked in the industrial sector than in the agricultural sector. The process of industrialization and diversification of the economy continues in Mississippi to this day.
On August 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damages to the region. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused even greater destruction along the 71 kilometers of Mississippi coastline along the Gulf of Mexico.
In recent years, in addition to industrialization, Mississippi has been noted for its political conservatism and few racial conflicts. In 1990, the state allowed the construction of river casinos, which could be operated only on boats on rivers. The legalization of these casinos increased the annual revenue of the Mississippi government. However, this revenue was drastically reduced with Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed many of these river casinos. Cities that relied on casinos as a primary source of revenue include Gulfport and Biloxi, on the state's Gulf of Mexico coast, and Tunica, Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez on the Mississippi River. Before Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi had the second largest casino industry in the country, behind only Nevada, and ahead of New Jersey, being surpassed by the latter after the hurricane.
On October 17, 2005, Governor Harley Barbour signed a law allowing the reconstruction of casinos in Hancock and Harrison counties, on land, as long as they are not located more than a half mile from the shoreline—and in Harrison County —, these casinos can be built along Highway 90, a federal highway.
The current Mississippi Constitution was adopted in 1890. Older
constitutions were adopted in 1817, 1832, and 1869. Amendments to the
Constitution are proposed by the Legislature, and to be approved, they
need the approval of at least 67% of the Senate and the State House of
Representatives, and later by 51% or more of Mississippi's voting
population, in a referendum. The people of the state can also propose
amendments to the Constitution through a petition. Amendments can also
be made through a constitutional convention, which needs to receive at
least the approval of 67% of the votes of both chambers of the
Legislative Branch and 51% of the state's voters, in a referendum.
The chief executive officer of Mississippi is the governor. This, together with the Lieutenant Governor, is elected by the voters of the state for terms of up to four years in duration. Both are elected on an electoral list, and have no term limit, but they cannot serve two in a row. Most of the officers of the different departments of the Mississippi Executive are appointed by the governor, with the consent of the Legislature, with the exception of the treasurer, the secretary of State and the attorney general, who are elected by the people of the state for terms of up to four years long.
The Legislative Branch of Mississippi is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has a total of 52 members, while the House of Representatives has a total of 122 members. Mississippi is divided into 52 senatorial districts and 122 representative districts. The voters of each district elect a senator/representative, who will represent each district in the Senate/House of Representatives. The term of office of senators is four years, and that of members of the House of Representatives is two years. There is no limit for a person to serve as a senator or representative.
The highest court in the Mississippi Judiciary is the Mississippi Supreme Court, composed of nine judges, three from each of the state's three judicial districts. The judge with the longest experience becomes Chief Justice. All of these judges are elected for terms of up to eight years. The second largest court in Mississippi is the Court of Appeals, composed of ten judges, two from each of the state's five congressional districts. The judges of this court are elected by the population of the congressional districts for terms of up to four years.
Mississippi is divided into 82 counties. Each county in the state is divided into five different districts. Each county is administered by a five-member board of supervisors, each elected by the population of each of the county's five districts. Most Mississippi cities are governed by a mayor and a city council. All city and county public administrations in the state are subject to the control of the government of Mississippi.
About half of Mississippi's government budget revenue is generated by state taxes, and the remainder comes from federally provided budgets and loans. In 2002, the state government spent $12.05 billion, generating $11.05 billion. Mississippi's government debt is $4.16 billion. The debt per capita is $1,451, the value of state taxes per capita is $1,649, and the value of government expenditures per capita is $4,445.
Mississippi, historically, has been dominated politically by the Democratic Party, mainly from the end of the American Civil War until the 1960s, mainly because of the great resentment of the population against the Republicans, who were responsible for the abolition of the slave labor in the country. Most of the elected politicians in the state's city and county administrations, as well as members of the Mississippi government and state representatives in the United States Congress, have been Democrats, until today. However, the Republican Party has gradually strengthened since the 1930s. Since 1948, for example, the majority of Mississippi's four Electoral College votes in US presidential elections have been Republican. Since 1991, when Kirk Fordice became the state's first Republican governor, Republicans have dominated Mississippi politically.
Mississippi is one of the most conservative states in the United States, where religion is often an important factor in the political opinion of the state's residents. The state has strict laws against gambling and alcoholic beverages. In 2004, 86% of the state's voters amended the state Constitution to outlaw any legal rights for gay couples, the highest level of support of any such initiative received in the United States.
Mississippi's gross domestic product in 2003 was $72 billion. The
state's per capita income, meanwhile, was $23,466, the lowest in the
country. The state's unemployment rate is 6.2%. The fact that
Mississippi is considered the poorest state in the country has its
origins in the American Civil War. Before the Civil War, Mississippi was
the fifth richest state in the country. The war cost the state about 30
thousand men. Farmers who survived the war went virtually into
receivership, because of the emancipation of slaves and the destruction
caused by the war. Unlike the rest of the states in the country,
Mississippi workers cannot be forced to join a union when they are
The primary sector contributes 3% of Mississippi's GDP. Agriculture and livestock account for a total of 2.9% of the State's GDP, employing nearly 72 thousand people. Mississippi has about 42,000 farms, covering about 40% of the state. The main products produced by Mississippi's agricultural industry are bovine meat and milk, cotton, and soybeans. Fishing and forestry together contribute 0.1% of the GDP, employing nearly three thousand people.
The secondary sector accounts for 27% of Mississippi's GDP. The total value of products manufactured in the state is 17 billion dollars. The main industrialized products manufactured in the state are industrialized foods, transportation equipment, mobile phones, clothing and textiles. The manufacturing industry accounts for 22% of the state's GDP, employing approximately 244 thousand people. The construction industry accounts for 4% of the State's GDP, and employs approximately 83 thousand people. Mining, with 1% of Mississippi's GDP, employs about 9.5 thousand people. The main natural resources extracted in the state are oil and natural gas.
The tertiary sector accounts for 70% of Mississippi's GDP. Community and personal services are responsible for 17% of the state's GDP, and employ about 361 thousand people. Wholesale and retail trade accounts for 17% of the state's GDP, and employs approximately 288 thousand people. Government services contribute 15% of Mississippi's GDP, employing approximately 259,000 people. Financial services and the real estate sector are about 11% of GDP, employing approximately 70 thousand people. Transportation, telecommunications and public utilities employ around 64 thousand people, and account for 10% of the GDP. About 35% of the electricity generated in Mississippi is produced by coal-fired power plants, 30% by nuclear power plants, and most of the rest is generated by oil- or natural gas-fired power plants.
According to the 2000 national census from the United States Census
Bureau, Mississippi's population was 2,884,658, a growth of 12.1 percent
from the state's 1990 population of 2,573,216. population. A 2005
estimate put Mississippi's population at 2,925,426, a growth of 13.5%
relative to the state's population in 1990, 2.7% relative to the state's
population in 2000, and 0.7% in relation to the estimated population in
Mississippi's natural population growth between 2000 and 2005 was 80,733 — 228,849 births minus 148,116 deaths — population growth caused by immigration was 10,653, while interstate migration resulted in a loss of 10 578 inhabitants. Between 2000 and 2005, Mississippi's population grew by 40,768, and between 2004 and 2005, by 20,320.
The six largest groups in Mississippi by ancestry are: African
Americans (making up 36.2% of the state's population), Americans
(14.2%), Irish (6.9%), English (6.1%) German (6.1%) and Italians
(1.42%). Mississippi also has a sizable French community.
Until the 1940s, the majority of Mississippi's population was of African descent, but from then until the 1980s, the percentage of African Americans in the state's population gradually fell, due to the great migration of African Americans to the states of the North. Since the 1980s, however, the percentage of African Americans in Mississippi's population has gradually increased, thanks to higher birth rates among the black population. Currently, Mississippi has the largest population of African Americans in the country (percentage).
More than 98% of Mississippi's white population was born in the United States, primarily of Northern European ancestry. Most Mississippians of Chinese descent are descendants of rural workers brought from California during the 1870s. The Chinese did not adapt well to the Mississippi farming system, so most became small traders.
Percentage of Mississippi population by religious affiliation:
Protestantism: 79% - 2,392,038
No religion: 15% - 454,184
Catholicism: 4% - 121 115
Other religions: 2% - 60,557
In Mississippi the predominant religion is Protestant, particularly Baptists, followed by Methodists. Mississippi's small Catholic population is concentrated primarily in urban communities and on the state's coastline, while its small Jewish population is concentrated primarily in the state's large cities.
The first schools in Mississippi were founded during the early 19th
century. The new state Constitution of 1869 instituted a public school
system, a board of education, and made the education of the state's
children mandatory for at least four months of the year. The institution
of a public school system—run by school districts—led to the creation of
taxes, which caused most Mississippians to initially oppose the new
measure—as the state was going through a major economic recession and
facing the destruction caused by the Civil War, which had ended four
years earlier, in 1865. However, as Mississippi's economic conditions
improved, the state's public school system began to receive greater
approval from the population. During the early 20th century, Mississippi
merged several rural school districts together in an attempt to
alleviate the financial difficulties of such districts, which had few
Currently, all educational institutions in Mississippi need to follow rules and standards dictated by the Mississippi State Board of Education. This board directly controls the state's public school system, which is divided into different school districts. The council is made up of nine members—five chosen by the governor, two by the Lieutenant Governor and two by the State Legislature—for terms of up to four years. These nine appoint a ninth member, who will act as superintendent of education. Each primary city, various secondary cities (towns) and each county is served by a school district. In cities, responsibility for administration of the public school system falls to municipal districts, while in less densely populated regions, this responsibility falls to school districts, which operate on a countywide basis. Mississippi allows the operation of "charter schools" — independent public schools, which are not managed by school districts, but which depend on public budgets for their operation. School attendance is mandatory for all children and adolescents over six years of age, until the completion of secondary education or up to sixteen years of age.
In 1999, Mississippi public schools served approximately 500.7 thousand students, employing approximately 30.7 thousand teachers. Private schools served about 51.4 thousand students, employing approximately 3.9 thousand teachers. The state's public school system consumed about $2.29 billion, and public school spending was approximately $4,900 per student. About 81.2% of the state's inhabitants over 25 years of age have a high school diploma.
Mississippi's first public library was founded in Port Gibson in 1818. The oldest in the state still in operation is the state library in Jackson, founded in 1838. Today, Mississippi has about 230 public libraries, managed by 49 library systems. different public libraries.
Mississippi's first institution of higher education, Jefferson College, was founded in 1811. The state's oldest institution of higher education still in operation is Mississippi College, founded in Clinton in 1826 as Hampstead College. The University of Mississippi is the state's oldest public institution of higher education, founded in 1846. Mississippi does not have a public higher education system, although it operates several colleges and universities scattered throughout the state. Mississippi has 41 institutions of higher education, of which 26 are public and 15 are private. Some of its major universities are the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, Mississippi College, and Mississippi State University.
Jackson is the state's main road, rail and airport center, while Mississippi's main port center is Gulfport, located on the state's coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. In 2002, Mississippi had 1,102 kilometers of railroad tracks. In 2003, the state had 119,260 kilometers of public roads, of which 1,539 kilometers were interstate highways, considered part of the federal highway system of the United States.
Mississippi's first newspaper, the Mississippi Gazette, was first
published in 1799, in Natchez. Currently, about 115 newspapers are
published in the state, of which 20 are daily newspapers.
Mississippi's first radio station was founded in 1925, in Hattiesburg. The state's first television station was founded in 1952, in Jackson. Currently, Mississippi has 153 radio stations (of which 68 are AM and 85 are FM) and 21 television stations.
Mississippi is very rural, and churches (particularly Fundamentalist-Baptist) play a significant role in the social life of most communities.
Several well-known blues and rock 'n' roll artists hail from Mississippi. They often made a breakthrough in cities outside of Mississippi but immediately across the state border, such as New Orleans, Louisiana, or Memphis, Tennessee. The most famous artist from Mississippi is Elvis Presley.
Mississippi is the home of Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner. Many of his novels are set in a fictional Yoknapatawpha County in the Mississippi hills. Arkansas-born bestselling author John Grisham has also lived in Mississippi since he was a child, and many of his stories are set in the fictional town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, which is also fictional. Author Kathryn Stockett is from Jackson, Mississippi. Her book Gute Geister is also set there and was filmed in 2011.