Natchez, Mississippi

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Natchez is a city located in Adams County, Mississippi. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 18,464. It is the county seat of Adams County6. It was founded in 1716 and is the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway.



The site of Natchez is the grand ceremonial village of the Natchez tribe (pronounced "Nochi"), who had occupied the site in a culture that was unbroken since the 8th century, according to archaeological finds. Their language, Natchez, can be linked to the Muskogean language family, indicating that the Natchez probably developed from earlier indigenous cultures in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Their society was divided into nobles and commoners according to matrilineal descent. The Natchez chief, the "Great Sun" owed his position to the rank of his mother.

The flat-topped ceremonial mounds built by the Natchez show the influence of moundbuilding cultures to the north in the Middle Mississippi River Valley, and ultimately the stone pyramid-building cultures of Middle America. At Natchez the Grand Village of the Natchez is preserved as a National Historic Landmark, and nearby Emerald Mound, an earlier ceremonial center, may be seen near the Natchez Trace Parkway [1].

In 1716 the French founded Fort Rosalie, an outpost in the Natchez territory. The fort's inhabitants often found themselves in conflict with the Natchez, who were influenced by British agents and when outright warfare erupted in November 1729, they extirpated the entire Indian population. On November 28, 1729, the worst Indian massacre to take place on Mississippi soil occurred. In this attack, the Natchez Indians killed 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children. The dispersed Natchez refugees joined other tribes, including the Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees. descendants of the Natchez diaspora survive as the Natchez Nation, a treaty tribe and confederate of the federally recognized Muscogee (Creek) Nation with a sovereign traditional government [2]. Subsequently, Fort Rosalie, which was renamed after the extinguished tribe, spent periods under Spanish, and British colonial rule before being ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1783). In a census of the Natchez district in 1784, 1,619 people were found, including 498 African-American slaves.

In the late 18th century Natchez became the end point of the Natchez Trace overland route, which ran from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez through what is now Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Flatboatmen and keelboatmen (locally called "Kaintucks" because they were usually from what is now Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana) who floated their produce downriver often sold their wares at Natchez, including their boats as lumber, then made the trek back north overland.

On October 27, 1795, the Spanish sign the Treaty of San Lorenzo, in which Natchez is surrendered to the United Sates. In 1798, when the Mississippi Territory was created by the Adams administration, Natchez became its capital. After 19 years as territorial capital, on 10 December 1817, Natchez became the first capital of the state of Mississippi. Though the capital was shifted to the more centrally located Jackson, over the course of the 19th century, Natchez became a town of strategic economic importance, due to its location on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. It developed into a bustling port for steamboats until the early 1900s, when railroad transport replaced steamboats. At Natchez, many local cotton plantation owners loaded their cotton onto steamboats at the landing known as "Natchez-Under-the-Hill" and transported downriver to New Orleans or sometimes upriver to Saint Louis, Missouri or Cincinnati, Ohio, where the cotton would be sold and transported to Northern spinning mills.

The terrain around Natchez on the Mississippi side of the river is rather hilly. The city sits on a high bluff above the Mississippi river and in order to reach the riverbank one must travel down a steep road to the landing called Silver Street. This is in marked contrast to the flat lowland found across the river surrounding the city of Vidalia, Louisiana. Natchez is known for its many Antebellum mansions and estates, built by 19th century plantation owners who would often own farmland in Louisiana but locate their homes on the higher ground in Mississippi. The City of Natchez boasts that today it has more antebellum houses than anywhere in the United States, partly due to the fact that during the American Civil War Natchez was spared the destruction of many other Southern cities, such as Vicksburg. According to legend, the planter population, which has largely disappeared since the early 19th century, once made the city the wealthiest in the United States.


Natchez is located at 31°33'16" North, 91°23'15" West (31.554393, -91.387566)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.9 km² (13.9 mi²). 34.2 km² (13.2 mi²) of it is land and 1.7 km² (0.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.62% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 18,464 people, 7,591 households, and 4,858 families residing in the city. The population density is 540.1/km² (1,398.3/mi²). There are 8,479 housing units at an average density of 248.0/km² (642.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 44.18% White, 54.49% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 0.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 7,591 households out of which 29.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% are married couples living together, 23.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% are non-families. 32.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 3.00.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 81.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 76.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $25,117, and the median income for a family is $29,723. Males have a median income of $31,323 versus $20,829 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,868. 28.6% of the population and 25.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 41.6% of those under the age of 18 and 23.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Natchez is home to Natchez High School.

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