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Mississippi Timeline of State History
Chronological History of Mississippi
- 12,000 years ago - A river is born. As glaciers from last Ice Age recede, flood waters carve channel of Mississippi.
- 10,000 to 9,000 years ago - First evidence of human habitation in Upper Mississippi region.
- 8,000 years ago - Hunters slaughter giant bison in what is now Itasca State Park, leaving evidence of their presence.
- 2,000 years ago - Hopewell (Mound building) culture dominates area. Burial mounds left at many sites along river, including what is now Mounds Park in St. Paul.
- 1540-1541 - Hernando De Soto, Spanish explorer, becomes the first known European to enter Mississippi. He winters with the Chickasaws and discovers the Mississippi River in the spring.
- 1673 - Father Jacques Marquette, a French missionary, and fur trapper Louis Joliet begin exploration of the Mississippi River on May 17. They reach Mississippi in July and explore as far south as the mouth of the Arkansas River, near the present location of Rosedale, before turning back.
- 1680 - Father Louis Hennepin sees the Falls of St. Anthony, future site of Minneapolis. The Mississippi Valley in Minnesota is center of Dakota culture.
- 1682 - Robert Cavalier de La Salle navigates the Mississippi River to its mouth and claims for France all lands drained by the river.
- 1699 - Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur D'Iberville, and his brother Jean Baptiste, Sieur D'Bienville, landed in what is now Ocean Springs. They built Fort Maurepas and established the first capital of the vast French colony on the North American continent.
- 1903 - A new capitol building, constructed at a cost of $1 million, is dedicated in Jackson.
- 1907 -
- The boll weevil arrives in Mississippi, destroying most of the state's cotton crop.
- William H. Smith organizes the first of the state's "Com Clubs," which leads to the formation of the 4-H Clubs of America.
- 1908 - Mississippi adopts statewide prohibition.
- 1909 - Dr. Laurence C. Jones founds the Piney Woods Country Life School for the vocational and secondary education of black students.
- 1910 - Mississippi Normal College, now the University of Southern Mississippi, is organized.
- 1916 -
- The Mississippi State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis is established.
- Governor Theodore Bilbo establishes the state's first Highway Commission.
- 1922 - The State Legislature authorizes a system of junior colleges, the first in the nation.
- 1923 - Two women, Senator Belle Kearny and Representative Nellie Nugent Somerville, are elected to the State Legislature.
- 1924 - Delta State Teachers' College, now Delta State University, is established.
- 1927 - The Mississippi River floods 2,722,000 acres in the Delta. Thousands are left homeless.
- 1929 - The Depression begins.
- 1930 - Lock and dam system -- to facilitate navigation and control flooding -- authorized by Congress.
- 1932 -
- The state's first sales tax becomes effective.
- The Natchez Pilgrimage, a nationally-famous tour of that area's antebellum homes, becomes an annual event.
- 1936 - The State Legislature passes an amendment to balance agriculture with industry (BAWI Program). The Industrial Commission and the Advertising Commission are created to implement the program, which includes adoption of the nation's first industrial revenue bond.
- 1939 - The state's first oil well is brought in near Tinsley, in Yazoo County.
- 1940 -
- Jackson College, having earlier moved from Natchez to Jackson, becomes a state institution.
- Lock and dam system completed
- 1941-1945 World War II promotes an industrial boom in the state.
- 1946 - Mississippi Vocational College, now Mississippi Valley State University, is established.
- 1954 - Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court's landmark ruling, lays groundwork for desegregation.
- 1962 - James Meredith, the first black registrant, enters the University of Mississippi -- the beginning of the end to segregation in public universities and colleges.
- 1963 - Medgar Evers, NAACP field secretary, is assassinated.
- 1964 -
- Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, outlawing segregation in public places.
- Three civil-rights workers are murdered near Philadelphia, Miss
- 1965 - Governor Paul B. Johnson, Jr., announces that the BAWI Program has achieved its goal.
- 1968 -
- Circuit Court judge 0. H. Barnett rules that Choctaw Indians are subject to their tribal laws, a reversal of an 1830's ruling that abolished tribal government.
- Robert Clark begins serving his first term in the Mississippi House as its first modern-day black member.
- 1969 -
- Unitary system of public education is mandated by federal courts, ending segregation in public schools.
- Hurricane Camille wreaks havoc upon Mississippi's Gulf Coast and areas inland.
- 1970 - Mississippi Authority for Educational Television is established and begins broadcasting.
- 1972 -
- Work begins on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
- Governor William Waller's administration aggressively involves blacks and women in government through key Cabinet, Board and judicial appointments.
- 1976 -
- Governor Cliff Finch calls a special session of the Legislature to restructure the states savings and loan associations, averting a financial crisis.
- Governor Finch succeeds in reuniting the long- separated Loyalist and Regular factions of the Mississippi Democratic Party.
- 1978 -
- After 36 years of service, U.S. Senator James 0. Eastland retires.
- Sixteenth Section Lands and Lieu Lands Act transfers control of Sixteenth Section Lands from county boards of supervisors to local boards of education and requires fair-market rental value on those lands.
- 1979 -
- Mattie T. Consent Decree initiates procedures providing equal education for handicapped children in the states public schools.
- Devastating flood inundates the city of Jackson and many towns south along the Pearl River.
- 1982 -
- Governor William F. Winter calls a special legislative session, resulting in adoption of the historic Education Reform Act, pioneering nationwide school reform.
- Jackson hosts the International Ballet Competition.
- 1983 - Judge Lenore Prather becomes Mississippi's first woman Supreme Court justice.
- 1984 -
- Public Radio in Mississippi goes on the air.
- Governor Bill Allain implements a massive program of governmental reorganization.
- 1985 - Justice Reuben Anderson becomes Mississippi's first black Supreme Court Justice.
- 1986 -
- The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is completed.
- Yazoo City lawyer Mike Espy is elected to the U.S. House, the first black congressman from Mississippi since Reconstruction.
- 1987 -
- Senator John C. Stennis, dean of U.S. Senators serving 40 years, announces he will not seek reelection.
- Ray Mabus is elected governor, the nation's youngest at 39.
- 1988 - A voluntary county unit system law is signed by Governor Mabus.
- 1989 -
- Fifth District congressman Larkin Smith dies in a plane crash near Hattiesburg. State Senator Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis wins a spirited special election to succeed him.
- 1990 - Mississippi National Guard men and women play important roles in Operation Desert Storm for America in the Middle East.
- 1991 -
- Mississippi becomes the nation's 21st state to allow its citizens to register to vote by mail.
- Kirk Fordice becomes Mississippi's first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
- 1992 - Tornadoes hit Brandon and other parts of Mississippi killing fifteen and injuring about 300 others
- 1994 - One of the nation's strongest lobbying reform laws is passed by the Mississippi Legislature.
- 2000 - David Ronald Musgrove becomes Mississippi's sixty-second Governor.
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Bienville, Delta, Desoto, Holly Springs, and Homochitto National Forests
Tombigee National Forest