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Mississippi

Mississippi is a state in the southern region of the United States, with part of its southern border formed by the Gulf of Mexico. Its western border is formed by the Mississippi River.
The state has a population of approximately 3 million. It is the 32nd most extensive and the 32nd most populous of the 50 United States. Located in the center of the state, Jackson is the state capital and largest city, with a population of approximately 175,000 people.
The state is heavily forested outside of the Mississippi Delta area, between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Before the American Civil War, most development in the state was along riverfronts, where slaves worked on cotton plantations. After the war, the bottomlands to the interior were cleared, mostly by freedmen. By the end of the 19th century, African Americans made up two-thirds of the Delta’s property owners, but timber and railroad companies acquired much of the land after a financial crisis.
Clearing altered the Delta’s ecology, increasing the severity of flooding along the Mississippi. Much land is now held by agribusinesses. A largely rural state with agricultural areas dominated by industrial farms, Mississippi is ranked low or last among the states in such measures as health, educational attainment, and median household income. The state’s catfish aquaculture farms produce the majority of farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States.
Since the 1930s and the Great Migration, Mississippi has been majority white, albeit with the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. state. From the early 19th century to the 1930s, its residents were mostly black, a population that before the American Civil War was composed largely of African slaves. Whites retained political power through Jim Crow laws. In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 400,000 rural blacks left the state for work and opportunities in northern and midwestern cities, with another wave of migration around World War II to West Coast cities. In 2010, 37% of Mississippians were African Americans, the highest percentage of African Americans in any U.S. state. Since gaining enforcement of their voting franchise in the late 1960s, most African Americans support Democratic candidates in local, state and national elections. Conservative whites have shifted to the Republican Party. African Americans are a majority in many counties of the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, an area of historic settlement during the plantation era. Since 2011 Mississippi has been ranked as the most religious state in the country
The state’s name is derived from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary. Settlers named it after the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (“Great River”).
Mississippi is bordered on the north by Tennessee, on the east by Alabama, on the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico; and on the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas.
In addition to its namesake, major rivers in Mississippi include the Big Black River, the Pearl River, the Yazoo River, the Pascagoula River, and the Tombigbee River. Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake, and Grenada Lake with the largest lake being Sardis Lake.
Mississippi is entirely composed of lowlands, the highest point being Woodall Mountain, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, 807 feet (246 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level at the Gulf coast. The state’s mean elevation is 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.
Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The 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 found in the western parts of the state. The northeast is a region of fertile black earth that extends into the Alabama 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 Island, Horn Island, East and West Ship Islands, Deer Island, Round Island, and Cat Island.
The northwest remainder of the state consists of the Mississippi Delta, a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The plain is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg. The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt which had been regularly deposited by the flood waters of the Mississippi River.

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