One of the United States, situated between 30°10' and 35° north latitude, and 88°10' and 91°35' west longitude from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Tennessee, east by Alabama, south by the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, and west by Pearl and Mississippi rivers, the latter of which separates this state from Louisiana and Arkansas, and the former separates it from Louisiana. It superficial area is 47,157 square miles.
Physical Aspect-- The surface of the southern portions of this state, for 100 miles inland from the Mexican gulf, is even, with occasional hills of moderate elevation, interspersed with prairies, inundated marshes, and cypress swamps. The soil is generally sandy and gravelly, mingled more or less with clay, and is capable of producing all the crops peculiar to the south. The central and northern parts of the state are more elevated, and the face of the country agreeably diversified by hills and dales. The soil is exceedingly fertile, producing abundant crops.
Rivers and Bays-- The principal rivers are; the Mississippi, Pearl, Pascagoula, Yazoo, Tombigbee and the Big Black. The only bays are, the Pascagoula, Biloxi and St Louis, which lie contiguous to the Mexican gulf.
Climate-- The winters of Mississippi as compared with the winters at the north, may be regarded as mild; but like those of the adjoining states, they vary from each other, and not infrequently are quite severe. No winter passes without more or less frost, and few, in some parts of the state, without snow. Neither the sugar cane nor the orange will grow, unprotected, north of latitude 31°. In general the winters along the Mississippi are two or three degrees colder than in corresponding parallels on the Atlantic. The summers are usually very hot, subject to long droughts, and not infrequently to excessive and protracted rains. Like most other southern countries, this state is generally healthy, except in the vicinity of swamps, and sluggish streams, where in summer and autumn, fevers and bilious complaints frequently prevail.
Productive Resources-- The products of this state are horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, wax, wool, lumber, tar, pitch, turpentine, cotton, tobacco, rice, wheat, rye, barley, oats, potatoes and Indian corn. Cotton is the great staple, little regard being had to other crops
Manufactures-- But little attention is paid in this state to manufactures, beyond supplying some of the more immediate wants of the people. In 1850 there were 866 manufacturing establishments, whose annual products amounted to $500 and upward.
Railroads-- There are about 200 miles of railroad completed in Mississippi and others are projected. The Vicksburg, Jackson and Brandon road, 60 miles long, is the most important road as yet built. Another road, from Natchez to Jackson, the capital of the sate, is in progress.
Commerce-- Mississippi has no direct foreign commerce, its shipping to foreign countries being made through the ports of neighboring states.
Education-- The principal collegiate institutions of Mississippi are the Oakland college founded in 1830; the Centenary college founded in 1841 and the Mississippi university at Oxford founded in 1846. There are also about 100 academies and 500 common schools in the state.
Government--The governor is elected by the people for a term of two years, and can not hold office more then four years out of six; and in case of his death, resignation or other inability, it is provided, that the president of the senate shall perform the duties of the governor, until another shall be duly qualified. The senate is composed of 32 members, elected for four years, half of the number being chosen biennially. the representatives are elected biennially, on the first Monday in November; the present number is 98, and can not exceed 100 members. The legislature meets biennially at Jackson, on the first Monday in January. The judicial power is vested in a high court of errors and appeals, consisting of three judges chosen by the people for six years, one being chosen biennially; in a circuit court, held in each county, the judges chosen by the people for four years; in a superior court of chancery, the chancellor chosen by the people of the whole state for six years; in a court of probate, the judge elected by the people of each county for two years. Every free white male citizen of the United States, 21 years of age, and who has resided in the state one year next preceding the election, and four months in the county, city or town, in which he offers his vote, is deemed a qualified voter.
Population-- In 1800 was 8,850; in 1810 was 40,352; in 1820 was 75,448; in 1830 was 136,621; in 1840 was 375,651 and in 1850 was 606,555. Number of slaves in 1800 was 3,489; in 1810 was 17,088; in 1820 was 32,814; in 1830 was 65,659; in 1840 was 195,211 and in 1850 was 309,898.
History-- De Soto traversed the Mississippi region in 1542, but made no settlement. La Salle visited it in 1681, having proceeded down the great valley from the lakes of the north. In 1698, D'Iberville, who was appointed governor of Louisiana, arrived with a colony, chiefly Canadians, and settled on Ship island. The next year he built Fort Biloxi, on the eastern side of Biloxi bay, which became the headquarters of the province. D'Iberville gave the name of Rosalie to the spot now called Natchez. That settlement was surprised and destroyed by the Natchez Indians, in 1729. The French were avenged, and destroyed or dispersed the whole tribe. The northern part of Mississippi was ceded to England by France, in 1763. The southern portion was ceded to England by Spain, and attached to Florida. A portion was retroceded to Spain in 1793. A large portion of the present state was erected into a territory in 1798. The Alabama territory was separated from it in 1817 and toward the close of the year Mississippi was admitted into the Union. The first constitution was adopted in 1817 and revised in 1832.