Happy Birthday Mississippi

Bill Seratt

January 18

Happy 200th Birthday Mississippi!

On December 10, 1817, Mississippi was admitted to United States as the 20th state of the nation.  The first capital was located in Natchez.  In 1822 the capital was moved to the more central location of Jackson.  In celebration the State of Mississippi will be presenting special events throughout the state all in preparation for the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on December 9, 2017.

The territory that would become Mississippi was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans to the region.  The first major European expedition into the area was in 1540 led by Hernando De Soto.  In 1699 the French claimed the territory that included Mississippi as part of their colony of New France and began settlement along the Gulf Coast.  In 1716, the French founded Natchez as Fort Rosalie.  Later it became part of West Florida under British rule.  Mississippi was under Spanish rule after France’s defeat in the Seven Year’s War.  In 1783 the Mississippi area was deeded by Great Britain to the United States of America after the later won its independence in the American Revolution.

The State of Mississippi will present three concerts to celebrate the bicentennial.  The Mississippi Bicentennial Concert Celebration South will be at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport on April 1, 2017.  The Mississippi Bicentennial Concert Celebration North will be in Oxford at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on June 24, 2017.  The final concert will be in Jackson on December 9, 2017.  All three concerts are free and open to the public.

In the months leading up to the opening of the museums in December a rare 20-star United States flag and the original State of Mississippi Constitution will be touring the state.  Only two official United States flags were used before the 20-star.  The first had thirteen stars and stripes to represent the original colonies and flew from 1777 until 1795.  The second flag added two stars and two stripes and flew until April 13, 1818, when the 20-star flag replaced it. The locations for all events can be found at www.ms200.org.