90 Fun Facts About Mississippi

Are you ready to explore a place called Mississippi? It’s a state in the United States with lots of stories, cool places, and fun facts. So, let’s put on our explorer hats and take a trip to learn these cool facts about Mississippi!

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First off, Mississippi has a really long river called the Mississippi River. Guess what? The state is named after this river! The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers in the whole world. It’s so big that it flows through many states, but Mississippi is special because the river and the state share the same name.

Mississippi is also known for its beautiful music. Have you ever heard of the blues? It’s a type of music that started in Mississippi a long time ago. People sang the blues to share stories about their lives, and it’s a big part of the state’s history. Some famous musicians started their careers in Mississippi.

And here’s something cool: Mississippi loves to celebrate! They have a festival called the Mississippi State Fair. It’s a big party where people come to have fun, eat delicious food, and ride on exciting rides. Imagine going on a ferris wheel and seeing the whole fair from up high!

Are you excited to learn more facts about Mississippi? From its mighty river to its musical roots, there’s so much to explore and discover. Let’s keep learning and find out all the amazing things that make Mississippi a wonderful place!

Do you want to discover more about other states? Check out our Facts about Missouri and our Facts about Hawaii.

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Facts about Mississippi

  1. Dr. Emmette F. Izard of Hazelhurst developed the first fibers of rayon, which became known as the first real synthetic materials.
  2. The Mississippi River gained its name when French explorers encountered the Anishinaabe people, who named the river Misi-ziibi, which translates into “Great River.”
  3. Dr. Hardy is credited as being the first doctor to attempt to perform a heart transplant and in 1963, he performed the first lung transplant.
  4. Over 63% of Mississippi’s land is covered in forests.
  5. The world’s largest shrimp is on display at the Old Spanish Fort Museum in Pascagoula.
  6. There were many Native American tribes in Mississippi when Europeans arrived.
  7. Mrs. Mamie Thomas was the first female rural mail carrier in the United States, using a buggy to deliver mail to the area southeast of Vicksburg in 1914.
  8. Mississippi contributed more than 80,000 troops to the American Civil War.
  9. The state dance, the square dance, and the state song, “Go Mississippi,” celebrate the state’s cultural traditions and community spirit.
  10. A group of slaves who lived in Mississippi and were freed by their master in 1834 returned to Africa, and created the present-day state of Liberia.
  11. Mississippi ranks 34th in the US in terms of population, with 2.94 million people, slightly more than Kansas and less than Arkansas.
  12. Residents of Mississippi selected the prehistoric whale as the official State Fossil in 1981. The skeleton was restored and is now on display in the state.
  13. On January 9, 1861, Mississippi became the second southern state to declare its secession from the United States of America.
  14. Vicksburg in western Mississippi has a high rating of UFO sitings and enthusiasts. People from all over flock here for the chance to see strange sightings of little green men.
  15. “Pine-Sol”, was developed in 1929 by the chemist Harry A. Cole.
  16. Every year, Mississippi can be devastated by around 27 tornadoes.
  17. Mississippi changed hands many times before it became a part of the United States.
  18. Mississippi went from being one of the wealthiest states to one of the poorest.
  19. The Mississippi River was formed around 20 million years ago during the Paleogene Period when tectonic activity and erosion caused a low-lying area to form in the central United States.
  20. Famed hat maker John B. Stetson learned and practiced his craft at Dunn’s Falls near Meridian after the Civil War, and forever changed the hat-wearing game.
  1. Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and the state’s largest city. With around 150,000 people, it is the 177th-largest city in the United States.
  2. The name of the state’s capital city –Jackson was adopted from the name of General Andrew Jackson (who 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. 
  3. Mississippi Medical Center was a safe place for African-American residents to get healthcare in the 1950s and 1960s. The hospital is a valuable part of the state’s medical school. As well, it’s the home of the only children’s hospital in the state.
  4. There are more churches per capita than any other state in the U.S.
  5. On a hunting expedition in 1902 in Sharkey County, President Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear, an act which resulted in the creation of the teddy bear.
  6. Of the 50 states, Mississippi is the 32nd largest, with a total area of 48,430 mi². It sits between Louisiana and Pennsylvania in terms of size.
  7. Mississippi’s most iconic wildlife species are the white-tailed deer, the state mammal, and the American alligator, the state reptile. Other mammals in Mississippi include the black bear, bobcat, and gray fox.
  8. The concept of selling shoes in boxes by the pair originated in Vicksburg at Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor on Washington Street.
  9. Thirty-eight percent of Mississippi residents are African American, which is the highest percentage of any state. However, in terms of the number of black residents, Texas has the most, and Mississippi is not even in the top 10.
  10. 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.
  11. The International Ballet Competition is organized similarly to the Olympics with athletes representing their home countries all over the world. Since the first competition in 1978, it’s been held once every four years.
  12. Wonderland was inspired by a real girl, Alice Liddel. She lived in Oxford, MS, with her father Dean. A friend of her father, Charles Dodgson (also known as Lewis Carrol) spent a lot of time with Alice and her family. From 1856, since she was four years old, Charles was a close friend and regular companion in their home. Later on, in 1865, he decided to name the leading character of his novel after her.
  13. Joseph Biedenharn decided to bottle Coca-Cola for the first time in 1894, at a plant in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  14. There are over 300 species of birds in the state, which includes the Northern mockingbird, which is the state bird, as well as bald eagles, woodpeckers, and a variety of waterfowl.
  15. Columbia’s Walter Payton was the first football player to win the coveted spot on the front of a Wheaties box.
  16. The official state motto of Mississippi is “Virtute et Armis“, which is Latin for “By Valor and Arms.”
  17. A brilliant physicist from Jackson, Mississippi, Henry Sampson, is credited with inventing the gamma-electric cell. He created it in the 1970s.
  18. The Mississippi State University gets a large part of its research funding from federal grants. One of the grants it receives is a National Space Grant, which funds research related to outer space.
  19. Mississippi is home to NASA’s biggest rocket engine testing facility. Known as the John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), this fascinating center is located in Hancock County on the banks of the Pearl River. It is on the border between Mississippi and Louisiana.
  20. The town of Pascagoula was mysteriously plagued by the Phantom Barber, who allegedly used to give nighttime haircuts during WWII.
  1. Belzoni, Mississippi is considered the catfish capital of the world. The state of Mississippi contains over 100,000 acres of catfish ponds. 94% of all farm-raised catfish in the United States are raised in Mississippi.
  2. Coca-Cola was created in Atlanta, but at first was only available as a fountain drink. It wasn’t bottled until 1894, in Vicksburg.
  3. Mississippi is 1 of 9 states whose name consists of only 4 letters, and it is the longest one, having 11 letters.
  4. Elizabeth Hazen, a native of Mississippi, and another researcher, Rachel Brown developed the anti-fungal antibiotic nystatin. It was a long-distance research relationship, and they shared results through the mail services.
  5. Though cotton became a large part of agriculture all over the South, Mississippi was the first place where it grew in the USA. The Spanish who lived in Natchez first began to cultivate it in 1795.
  6. Descendants of the Paleo-Indians were the first people to live in the area now known as Mississippi. They were hunter-gatherers who first appeared about 18,000 years ago.
  7. The state has roughly 70,000 disabled adults, which is 10% of the workforce.
  8. In 1929, H.T. Merrill from Iuka performed the world’s first round-trip trans-oceanic flight.
  9. The French established the first permanent settlement in present-day Mississippi in 1699. Before the arrival of the Europeans, three groups of people inhabited the place: the Natchez, the Chickasaw, and the Choctaw.
  10. Counting over 1.75 million strong, the white-tailed deer population in Mississippi is the second highest density in the U.S. Only Texas has a higher population of deer but added all together, the total number of deer in the U.S. goes well over 30 million.
  11. You can find the world’s largest shrimp in Pascagoula, Mississippi at the Old Spanish Fort Museum.
  12. In Jackson County, you can find the Mississippi Sandhill Crane, the rarest crane in North America. It’s about 44 inches tall and has a wingspan of eight feet!
  13. S.B. Sam Vick of Batesville, MS was the only man to ever pinch hit for Babe Ruth. He played for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
  14. Mississippi native Fred Smith started FedEx in 1973, although he did so in neighboring Tennessee.
  15.  0.07% of Mississippi is protected land, which is the second lowest of any state, after Kansas.
  16. In the town of Ridgeland, Mississippi, we can find the most bizarre of cell phone towers. The quaint structure is shaped like the Washington Monument: an obelisk of white marble tapered off to a pyramid at the top. It even has little windows on top!
  17. The maximum speed limit you can legally travel in Mississippi is 70 mph.
  18. The world’s only cactus plantation is located in Edwards.
  19. Britney Spears, the “Princess of Pop”, was born in McComb, Mississippi. 
  20. In 1985, Justice Rueben Anderson became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in Mississippi.
  1. There is one National Monument in Mississippi: The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home. Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist who was assassinated by a white supremacist just outside of the house in 1963.
  2. The National Geographic Magazine used to be printed in Corinth, Mississippi. About nine million copies were printed every month.
  3. Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the American South in history. The Mississippi Gulf Coast was nearly destroyed as a result of the storm and the subsequent flooding. The estimated cost of the damage from Katrina in the state alone tops $30 million.
  4. Oprah Winfrey of Kosciusko, Mississippi is the wealthiest African-American in the country.
  5. Over 68 days, marathon swimmer Martin Strel, tackled the entire length of the marvelous Mississippi River. The 48-year-old took this 2414-mile swim in stride, marking this momentous occasion in 2002.
  6. The “Mississippi University for Women,” was founded in 1884, which was the very first public women’s college in the country.
  7. Oliver Pollock, who first used the dollar sign, is buried near Pinckneyville in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. He created the sign by accident.
  8. Same-sex marriage was banned in Mississippi until 2015.
  9. Mississippi has some weird old laws. For instance, if you have more than one illegitimate child, you could face up to one month in jail. It’s also illegal to explain polygamy to someone.
  10. 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.
  11. A year after the Civil War ended, women in Columbus decorated the Confederate and Union soldiers’ graves with flowers in Friendship Cemetery. As a direct result, Americans came to observe Memorial Day to honor the lives and deaths of fallen soldiers.
  12. The Delta Blues, one of the earliest types of blues, was developed in the Mississippi Delta area, especially in the city of Clarksdale. Today the city has the Delta Blues Museum and several monuments dedicated to its musical past and performers. It is also a good base for exploring the Mississippi Blues Trail.
  13. Even though shoes were sold everywhere for many years, the first pair of shoes was sold in the U.S. in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1884.
  14. On March 8, 2018, the nation’s most restrictive abortion law was passed by Mississippi lawmakers. The law made abortion illegal in most cases after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A full ban went into effect on July 7, 2022.
  15. Using profane language in public carries a fine of up to $100.
  16. One of the most well-known of Mark Twain’s publishings that detail or center around the Mississippi River and the areas along its path, is the story of Huckleberry Finn. Better known as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, this quaint coming-of-age story was first published in 1884 in the United Kingdom.
  17. Mississippi’s life expectancy at birth is the lowest of all states and has been for a long time.
  18. West Point company Blazon-Flexible Flyer Inc. makes one of the most well-known sleds in the country and provides millions of kids with endless hours of flying headfirst into snowdrifts.
  19. Mississippi has a handful of main islands which are part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore shared with Alabama. The largest of Mississippi’s Gulf Islands is Ship Island, which is famous for Fort Massachusetts.
  20. The first nuclear submarine built in the South was the USS Nautilus. The keel was laid in 1952, and the submarine was commissioned in 1954.
  1. Mississippi’s official beverage is milk.
  2. Mississippi used to have an island called Isle of Caprice, but it has disappeared.
  3. Liberty, Mississippi, is where Borden’s condensed milk was first canned in the U.S. Two factories were opened in 1853 to create a shelf-stable milk product.
  4. In Temperance, Mississippi, you’re legally supposed to put a diaper on your dog when taking them on a walk.
  5. One of the very oldest games in America is stickball. The Choctaw Indians of Mississippi played the game as far back as 1729, and demonstrations can be seen every July at the Choctaw Indian Fair in Philadelphia.
  6. Mississippi recorded its hottest temperature of 115°F (46.1°C) on July 29, 1930, at Holly Springs. Its lowest was -19°F (-28.33°C) on January 30, 1966, at Corinth.
  7. The first topographical map made of a U.S. state was made by Gail Bordon in 1838. Bordon settled in Mississippi and worked as a surveyor.
  8. Mississippi is slightly larger than North Korea and slightly smaller than Nicaragua.
  9. It’s still technically illegal to live with your partner unless you’re married.
  10. In 1540, Hernando de Soto of Spain became the first European to visit the region of Mississippi.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Mississippi? Share them with us in the comments! 

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