Mississippi Gulf Coast Information

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Map of the Mississippi Gulf Coast counties, and the communities along the coast

The Mississippi Gulf Coast, also known as the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, or simply The Coast, is the area of southern Mississippi along the Mississippi Sound along the Gulf Of Mexico.


At the state’s creation, Hancock and Jackson were the only two counties to make up this region. However, before the end of the first centennial, subdivisions in the counties lead to the formation of Harrison County, as well as the pineywoods counties of Pearl River, Stone and George. [1]

The U. S. Census Bureau divided the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2003, which previously had been the three coastal counties, into two MSAs that included two additional counties.


The Mississippi Gulf Coast consists of many cities that lie directly on the Mississippi Sound. These include the original French settlements in Biloxi and Ocean Springs, as well as Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, D'Iberville, Gautier, Pascagoula, and Moss Point.


Early History

The Biloxi people lived in the region at least as early as 1699.

Colonial History

Pierre Lemoyne and company embarking on Ship Island in the Mississippi Sound

In 1699, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville arrived to establish a colony near the mouth of the Mississippi River. He landed on the Ship Island, and three days later, arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, establishing a colony and building Fort Maurepas, which served as the first capital of French Louisiana. The fort became a base of operations to continue exploring the area. [2]

The French settlers found the area to be difficult to maintain a settlement According to Bunn & Williams (2007), factors such as death of crops, lack of fresh water, lack of discipline, and illness led to difficultly in maintaining the colonization of the area. Furthermore, due to political concerns, the capital of French Louisiana was moved to Mobile in 1701; the fort was abandoned by 1702. Despite a temporary move of the capital to Biloxi during the construction of New Orleans, previous failures kept the area from playing a further role in French colonization efforts in the region. [2]

Statehood and Antebellum Period

When Mississippi entered the Union in 1817, the majority of the population lived in Northern parts of the state. At statehood, the population of the coast comprised 2.5% of the state’s total. Likewise, the Census lists only 586 of the state's 30,061 as living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. [1] After statehood, the coastal regions remained a frontier, with cultural influences coming from the Mediterranean area. According to Kenneth P'Pool, deputy historic preservation officer at MDAH, "The Coast's situation along ... the Gulf of Mexico — both facilitated the regions ethic diversity and maintained its ties to the rest of the world much more easily than was possible for other regions of [Mississippi]." [1]

Civil War

Fort Massachusetts, on Ship Island, was seized during the American Civil War.

Twentieth Century

In the 20th century, Keesler Air Force Base brought development to the region. Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused historic destruction to the Gulf Coast.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bergeron, Kat (March 30, 2017). "The Coast from 1817 to 1917: From frontier to tourist destination". SunHearld. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  2. ^ a b Bunn, J. Michael; Williams, Clay (September 2007). "A Failed Enterprise: The French Colonial Period in Mississippi | Mississippi History Now". www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov. Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2019-04-13.