Progression of the European Settlement and Development Mississippi (1500’s-1817)

Dwelling upon the progression of the European settlement on the Mississippi river from 1500’s until its becoming statehood in 1817, it should be noted that Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto was the first European who visited the river during 1539-1542.[1] The French research on the territories of the River was crucial, as it lead to the creation of the first permanent European settlement (Fort Maurepas) in MS territory in 1699 by explorers Pierre LeMoyne Sieur D’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Sieur D’Bienville.[2]

The wars which took place on the territory of MS River were crucial, as a result the territories were divided between England and Span. The most important war was French and Indian one, as France was defeated and had to pass control over the territory to England.

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The Treaty of Paris (1783) as a result of American Revolution gave way to the development of the territories of Mississippi River and the spread of European progression and settlement.

Thus, according to the Treaty of Paris (1783) the USA and the GB got an open access to the territories of the MS River, and the USA received the right to control the territory. Winthrop Sargent became the first Territorial Governor of the Mississippi lands in 1798.

During this time the territory of the Mississippi was established. 10th December 1817 is considered to be an important date in the history of Mississippi territory, as it was the date when it became a state.[3]

Legacies Left in MS by European Influence

The European influence has left its imprint on the legal side of the territory development. Four legacies of European influences on MS should be considered. Black Code of Louisiana (Code Noir) was the document established in 1724. It dwelt upon the relations between slaves and colonists and in fact restricted the eights of slaves on the territory of the Rives.

The second document was connected with economic dependencies, agriculture and slavery in particular. A lot of slaves from Africa were taken on the territories of the River to increase the agricultural development and produce more sugar, rum, molasses, and syrup. With the creation of the cotton gin, the agricultural development on the territory increased, that gave rise to its economic growth.[4] The third legacy which was possible because of the European influence was religion and language impact.

The Catholic religion began popular due to the French and Spanish expansion. The language was influenced by English, France, and Spanish settlers on the territory of the River. The fourth legacy dealt with political philosophies as due to the changes of the influence on the territory, the constitution changed as well. Thus, there were four different constitutions in the Mississippi region, in 1817, 1832, 1868, and 1890.[5]

Modern MS Culture and Society

As for me, the most crucial legacy is the third one, connected with religion and language. This legacy helps easily understand the roots of the modern culture and society on the territory of the Mississippi River. Thus, being influenced by Spain the citizens of the regions adopted not only the Catholic religion, but also the traditions.

Continuing the development under the influence of the Spain, England, the USA and other Catholic countries, the territory of the MS rives had no choice but to assimilate. Adopting the language of the countries, the citizens of the Mississippi had to take some specific customs and traditions, that one of the main roots of the culture on the modern territory of the Mississippi River and created its social norms.


McCall. “Mississippi Studies”. Class Notes, January 2011.

Usner, Daniel H. American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories. Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, 2004.

Daniel H. Usner, American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories. (Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, 2004), 3.
McCall. “Mississippi Studies”. Class Notes, (January 2011), n.p.
Usner, 77.
McCall, n.p.


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