Mississippi Territory

Mississippi Territory

The Territory of Mississippi was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from April 7, 1798, until December 10, 1817, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Territory was expanded in 1804 and again in 1812 until it extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the southern border of Tennessee. (Georgia gave up the northern portion in 1802, and the Gulf Coast region was acquired from Spain.) Originally Mississippi Territory included what is now Alabama, and 9 months before Mississippi was admitted into the Union in 1817, the Alabama Territory to the east was separated out on March 3. On December 10, 1817, Mississippi was admitted to the Union as the 20th state.

The Mississippi Territory was organized in 1798 from land that had been disputed by the U.S. and Spain until Spain ceded its claim with the Treaty of Madrid initially signed between the two countries representatives in 1795. This area extended from 31° N latitude to 32°28' North, or approximately the southern half of the present states of Alabama and Mississippi.

The state of Georgia maintained a claim over almost the entire area of the present states of Alabama and Mississippi (from 31° N to 35° N) until it surrendered its claim in 1802 following the Yazoo land scandal. Two years later, Congress extended the boundaries of the Mississippi Territory to include all of the Georgia cession.

The final boundary between Georgia and Mississippi Territory was defined to follow the Chattahoochee River north from the border with Spanish Florida. However the Chattahoochee's upper course veers northeast, deep into Georgia. So the boundary was defined to follow the river until it turned northeast, and then to follow a straight line north to the 35th parallel (whose role in state borders dates back to the split of North and South Carolina in 1730). The line was not run straight north but rather angled to meet the northern border of the territory one-third of the way west, leaving the other two-thirds for two future states (Alabama and Mississippi—though their angled boundary ended up stopping at the Tennessee River).

In 1812, the United States annexed to the Mississippi Territory the Mobile District of West Florida, claiming that it was included in the Louisiana Purchase, although Spain disputed this and maintained its claim over the area. In the following year, General James Wilkinson occupied this district with a military force, the Spanish commandant offering no resistance. This annexation gave to Mississippi Territory the coast of the Gulf of Mexico between the Perdido River and the Pearl River (comprising what is now part of Alabama).

On March 3, 1817, the Mississippi Territory was divided, when the western portion became the state of Mississippi, and the eastern became the Alabama Territory, with St. Stephens, on the Tombigbee River, as the temporary seat of government.

Congress delineated the boundary between Mississippi and Alabama by dividing the territory into approximately equal sized parts, similar in size to Georgia. The agriculturally productive lands were divided by a straight line running south from the northwest corner of Washington County (as it was defined at the time) to the Gulf of Mexico. The border north of this point was angled eastward in order to keep Mississippi and Alabama roughly equal in size. At its northern end this angled border follows a short section of the Tennessee River. Congress chose this boundary because if the straight line had been run all the way to the Tennessee border Mississippi would have jurisdiction over a small piece of hilly land cut off from the rest of the state by the wide Tennessee River.

Read more about Mississippi TerritorySettlement, Further Reading

Other articles related to "territory, mississippi territory, mississippi":

Territorial Evolution Of The United States - 1810s
... April 30, 1812 Most of the Territory of Orleans was admitted as the 18th state, Louisiana ... The rest of the territory (the northwestern tip) was ceded to Louisiana Territory ... May 12, 1812 The federal government annexed a part of West Florida, the Mobile District, to Mississippi Territory, making the territory correspond to present-day Alabama ...
Mississippi Territory's At-large Congressional District
... On April 7, 1798, the Mississippi Territory was created ... none Natchez Vacant March 4, 1817 - December 10, 1817 District becomes inactive as Mississippi achieves stateood The area of Mississippi Territory was ... On December 10, 1817, Mississippi was admitted into the Union as a state and Alabama Territory to the east was spun off ...
History Of Alabama - European Colonization
... Charles II of England included the territory of modern Alabama in the Province of Carolina, with land granted to certain of his favorites by the charters of 1663 and 1665 ... came into undisputed control of the region between the Chattahoochee and the Mississippi Rivers ... ceded to the United States the lands east of the Mississippi between 31°N and 32°28'N ...
Mississippi Territory - Further Reading
... "The Cement of Society Law in the Mississippi Territory," Gulf Coast Historical Review 1986 1(2) 76–99 Hatfield, Joseph T ... "Governor William Claiborne, Indians, and Outlaws in Frontier Mississippi, 1801–1803," Journal of Mississippi History 1965 27(4) 323–350 Haynes, Robert V ... "Territorial Mississippi, 1798–1817," Journal of Mississippi History 2002 64(4) 283–305 Haynes, Robert V ...
1810s - Politics and Wars - Other Political Events - North America
... state, the territory by that name is renamed the Missouri Territory ... Congress passes law to split the Mississippi Territory, after Mississippi drafts a constitution, creating the Alabama Territory effective in August ... Congress (March 3), the Alabama Territory is created by splitting the Mississippi Territory in half, on the day the Mississippi constitution is drafted, 4 months before Mississippi becomes ...

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