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Revised 27 December 2010


The earliest known explorers in the Mississippi area came from France and Spain.  These were more interested in taking riches back to their homeland than in staying.  Hernando de Soto of Spain explored the Mississippi region in 1540.  In 1699, he French established colonies on the Gulf Coast (Old Biloxi) and on the Mississippi River at Natchez in 1716.    IN 1763, as a result of the French and Indian Wars, the lands were ceded to Britain and British settlers quickly moved into the area to establish permanent homes.  In the Revolutionary War, Mississippi primarily remained loyal to the British crown.  In the area of Natchez, retired English army and Naval officers were given land grants in reward for their service to the crown.  Those from the French period were primarily Roman Catholic.  Many Tories of the seaboard colonies, who were unwilling to participate in the resistance forces, moved their families to this area.  

    Between 1779 and 1781, Spain claimed authority and took over the government of the Natchez District.  By 1798, the pro-American sentiments had overthrown the rule of Spain and on 7 April of that year, the Mississippi Territory was created by act of Congress with Natchez as its territorial capital.  Mississippi was finally admitted to statehood on 10 December of 1817 and became our 20th state.

Mississippi was primarily a state of dense woods and snake-infested swamps.  In 1868, Mississippi undertook a major project to convert the delta swamps into useable farmland.  It is credited with two major inventions worth note, those being the steamboat and the cotton gin, both of which had an impact on the state's history.  From the outset, Mississippi was a slave state.  By the 1840s, more than half of Mississippi's population consisted of slaves.  When the issues of the slave/states vs individual rights finally came to a head, Mississippi seceded from the Union on 1861 and joined the Confederacy. 

 In the time frame of the Civil War, Mississippi took some of the hardest fought battles o the war.  They were the focus of Union campaigns in the west and saw much violent fighting, including the sieges of Vicksburg, Corinth and Jackson.  The Federal troops crossed Mississippi repeatedly and each time, destroyed everything in their path.  By the end of the war, Mississippi lay pretty much in ruins.  Mississippi rejoined the Union in 1870, but the race wars continued on into present days and became one of the focal points of Civil Rights activity as we know it.

Name Date created Parent County County Seat
Adams 1799 Natchez District Natchez
Alcorn 1870 Tippaw, Tishomingo, Wilkinson Corinth
Amite 1909 Wilkinson Liberty
Attala 1833 Choctaw Cession Kosciusco
Benton 1870 Marshall, Tippah Ashland
Bolivar 1836 Choctaw Cession Rosedale & Cleveland
Calhoun 1852 Lafayette, Valobusha Pittsboro
Carroll 1833 Choctaw Cession Carrollton & Valden
Chickasaw 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Houston and Okolona
Choctaw 1833 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Ackerman
Claiborne 1802 Jefferson Port Gibson
Clarke 1833 Choctaw Cession Quitman
Clay 1871 Chickasaw, Lowndes, Monroe, Oktibbeha (Formerly Colfax) West Point
Coahoma 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1836 Clarksdale
Colfax (see Clay) 1871 Name changed to Clay in 1876  
Copiah 1823 Hinds Hazlehurst
Covington 1819 Lawrence, Wayne Collins
DeSoto 1836 Indian Lands Hernando
Forrest 1906 Perry Hattiesburg
Franklin 1809 Adams Meadville
George 1910 Greene, Jackson Lucedale
Greene 1811 Amite, Franklin, Wayne Leakesville
Grenada 1870 Carrol, Yalobusha, Choctaw, Tallahatchie Grenada
Hancock 1812 Mobile District Bay St. Louis
Harrison 1841 Hancock, Jackson Gulfport
Hinds 1821 Choctaw Cession 1820 Jackson & Raymond
Holmes 1833 Yazoo Lexington
Humphreys 1918 Holmes, Washington, Yazoo, Sunflower Belzoni
Issaquena 1844 Washington Mayersville
Itawamba 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Fulton
Jackson 1812 Mobile District Pascagoula
Jasper 1833 Indian Lands Bay Springs & Paulding
Jefferson 1799 Natchez, originally Pickering Fayette
Jefferson Davis 1906 Covington, Lawrence Prentiss
Jones 1826 Covington, Wayne Ellisville & Laurel
Kemper 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1832 De Kalb
Lafayette 1836 Chickasaw Cession Oxford
Lamar 1904 Marion, Pearls River Purvis
Lauderdale 1833 Choctaw Cession Meridian
Lawrence 1814 Marion Monticello
Leake 1833 Choctaw Cession Carthage
Lee 1866 Itawamba, Pontotoc Tupelo
Leflore 1871 Carroll, Sunflower, Tallahatchie Greenwood
Lincoln 1870 Franklin, Lawrence, Copiah, Pike, Amite Brookhaven
Lowndes 1830 Monroe Columbus
Madison 1828 Yazoo Canton
Marion 1811 Amite, Wayne, Franklin Columbia
Marshall 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 holly Springs
Monroe 1821 Chickasaw Cession of 1821 Aberdeen
Montgomery 1871 Carroll, Choctaw Winona
Neshoba 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1830 Philadelphia
Newton 1836 Neshoba Decatur
Noxubee 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1830 Macon
Panola 1836 Choctaw Cession of 1830 Starkville
Pearl River 1890 Hancock, Marion Poplarville
Perry 1820 Greene New Augusta
Pickering (See Jefferson) 1799 Original County, Renamed Jefferson in 1808  
Pike 1815 Marion Magnolia
Pontotoc 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Pontotoc
Prentiss 1870 Tishomingo Bonneville
Quitman 1877 Panola, Coahoma Marks
Rankin 1828 Hinds Brandon
Scott 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1832 Forest
Sharkey 1876 Warren, Washington, Issaquena Rolling Fork
Simpson 1824 Choctaw Cession of 1820 Mendenhall
Smith 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1820 Raleigh
Stone 1916 Harrison Wiggins
Sumner (See Webster) 1874 Renamed Webster in 1882  
Sunflower 1844 Bolivar Indianola
Tallahatchie 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1820 Charleston & Sumner
Tate 1873 Marshall, Tunica, DeSoto Senatobia
Tippah 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Ripley
Tishomingo 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Iuka
Tunica 1836 Chickasaw Cession of 1832 Tunica
Walthall 1914 Marion, Pike Tylertown
Warren 1909 Natchez District Vicksburg
Washington 1827 Warren, Yazoo Greenville
Wayne 1909 Washington Waynesboro
Webster (Originally Sumner) 1871 Montgomery, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Oktibbeha Walthall
Wilkinson 1802 Adams Woodville
Winston 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1830 Louisville
Yalobusha 1833 Choctaw Cession of 1830 Coffeyville & Water Valley
Yazoo 1823 Hinds Yazoo City