Joining the United States: Territory, Statehood, and Treaties

"Mississippi Fever" was a different kind of illness, one driven by a mad dash for fertile land to grow cotton. White settlers—many bringing enslaved Africans with them—poured into the Mississippi Territory.Organized in 1798, the territory encompassed much of present-day Mississippi and Alabama. The population swelled from 8,850 in 1800 to 136,621 in the state in 1830. Nearly half the new Mississippians were enslaved Africans. White settlers forced the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes to give up more than 30 million acres of their Mississippi homelands.

Two wars and countless smaller disputes over land pitted American settlers against Native Americans, the Spanish, British forces, and one another. Despite disagreements between wealthy planters along the Mississippi River and small farmers in the eastern parts of the territory, Mississippi adopted a constitution and became a state in 1817. In the 1830s, the eviction of Native Americans removed the last obstacle to settlement and led to an economic explosion based on slave-produced cotton. By 1833, Mississippi had become the third largest cotton-producing state in the nation.

From the Gallery

Explore artifacts, photos, and documents featured in the Joining the United States gallery.

Timeline: 1799–1832

Explore Mississippi

Journey beyond the museum walls and explore the places where history happened and is preserved.

William Johnson House

William Johnson HouseExplores the lives of free African Americans in the pre-Civil War South

210 State Street
Natchez, Mississippi

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House on Ellicott's Hill

House on Ellicott's HillBuilt circa 1798 by Andrew Ellicott, this national historic landmark overlooks the terminus of the Natchez Trace. 

211 North Canal Street
Natchez, Mississippi 

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