Mississippi is located in the southern region of the United States. The state takes its name from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary. Jackson, the largest city in Mississippi, is also the state capital.
Mississippi is bordered on the north by the state of Tennessee, on the east by Alabama, on the south by Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, and on the west by Louisiana and Arkansas (across the Mississippi River).
Major rivers include Mississippi River, Big Black River, Pearl River, Yazoo River, Pascagoula River, and Tombigbee River. Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake, and Grenada Lake.
The highest point in Mississippi is Woodall Mountain, only 806 feet (246 m) above sea level and part of the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. The lowest point is sea level along the shore at the Gulf of Mexico.
Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The East Gulf Coastal Plain is generally composed of low hills, such as the Pine Hills in the south and the North Central Hills. The Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations. Yellow-brown loess soil is in the west. The northeast is a region of fertile black earth that extends into the Black Belt.
The coastline includes large bays at Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, and Pascagoula. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow Mississippi Sound, which is partially sheltered by Petit Bois, Horn, Ship, and Cat islands.
The northwest remainder of the state is made up of a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, also known as the Mississippi Delta. The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt which had been regularly deposited by floodwaters of the Mississippi River.
Areas under the management of the National Park Service include: Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site near Baldwyn, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Natchez National Historical Park in Natchez, Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo National Battlefield in Tupelo, Vicksburg National Military Park and Cemtary in Vicksburg.
Mississippi has been historically significant in the development of the blues, especially the Delta region. Mississippi blues greats include: Bo Carter, Son House, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, Skip James, Bukka White, Tommy Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Willie Brown, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Big Bill Broonzy, Jimmy Rogers, Bo Diddley, Otis Rush, Otis Spann, and B. B. King.
The Mississippi Blues Trail, now being implemented, has dedicated markers for historic sites, such as Clarksdale's Riverside Hotel, where Bessie Smith died after her auto accident on Highway 61. The Riverside Hotel is just one of many historical blues sites in Clarksdale. Located in Clarksdale, the Delta Blues Museum is visited by people from all over the world. Close by are Ground Zero and Madidi, a blues club and restaurants co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.
Mississippi has been fundamental to the development of American music has a whole. Elvis Presley was a native of Tupelo, Mississippi. While its origins were based more in Tennessee than Mississippi, country music had its first superstar in Jimmie Rodgers, a native of Meridian. From the famous alternative rock band 3 Doors Down to famous gulf and western singer Jimmy Buffett, Mississippi has had a long and proud music history.
Mississippi has produced a number of notable and famous individuals. From actors Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, Gerald McRaney, Parker Posey and Sela Ward to National Football League greats Archie Manning, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Deuce McAllister, and Steve McNair to authors William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, John Grisham and Kevin Sessums to business leaders Jim Barksdale (founder of Netscape) and Robert "Bob" Pittman (founder and former President and CEO of MTV). Actors, artists, astronauts, authors, cooks, musicians, sports figures and more, Mississippi has contributed significantly to America's culture.
The Teddy bear gets its name from a 1902 hunting trip to Sharkey County, Mississippi by President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt in which he refused to shoot a captured bear.
In 1936 Dr. Leslie Rush, of Rush Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi performed the first bone pinning in the United States. This led to the development of the "Rush Pin", which is still in use to this day.
The first woman to be a judge of a U.S. district court was Burnita Shelton Matthews of the Burnell community near Hazlehurst, Mississippi. She was appointed by Harry S. Truman on October 21, 1949.
Former astronaut and administrator of NASA Richard H. Truly is from Fayette, Mississippi. Educated in Mississippi and Georgia, Truly was in charge of reforming NASA (1989 to 1992) in the era immediately following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He was the first former astronaut to head NASA.
The world-renowned USA International Ballet Competition takes place in Jackson every four years.
Root beer was invented in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq, the namesake of Barq's Root Beer.
Starkville is home to the state's first and oldest independent film festival, The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, which takes place each February.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
Photos courtesy of the Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism