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The first European settlement in Mississippi was established in 1699 at Ocean Springs. But, the region was controlled by several countries including Spain, France and Great Britain until it was ceded to the British after the French and Indian War. Great Britain deeded the land over to the United States in 1783 and it became the 20th state on December 10, 1817.
During the 1850's, cotton brought great wealth to the states plantation owners. But, the need for large populations of slaves to work the farms contributed to the states politics and its decision to withdraw from the Union during the Civil War in 1861. And, it wasn't readmitted to the Union until February 23, 1870.
During the 1960's, Mississippi gained a bad reputation due to the White Citizen's Council and the violent actions of the Ku Klux Klan. It became a major focal point of the American Civil Rights Movement and actually only symbolically adopted the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery in 1995.
Agriculture, industry and education boomed during the early 1900's. And, the railroads supplied access to the states forests creating a large lumber industry. Swampy areas were drained through state projects which created more land that could be used for farming.
Mississippi's economy has moved toward industries since the 1980's. With over 100 species of trees covering almost 60 percent of the state, the manufacture of furniture has become a major industry. Agriculture continues to thrive with cotton being one of the main crops in the state. And, Mississippi is the leading producer of pond raised catfish in the world.
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