In a sense, the history of Mississippi is the history of America. It begins in prehistoric times, when vast herds of buffalo trampled and “traced” out a route known as the Natchez Trace. This same path would later be traveled by Native Americans, traders, missionaries, and early pioneers. Chickasaw and Choctaw, Scotch and Irish, slaves, and settlers have all called Mississippi home. Mississippi grew up with our nation. When the Mississippi Territory became the 20th state to join the union in 1817, it was comprised largely of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations. With statehood came an influx of Europeans – largely English, Scottish, and Irish – who sought opportunity in what was then the frontier of a rapidly growing country. The Magnolia State continued to leave its imprint on America, playing a pivotal role in the Civil War and later serving as the setting for some of the landmark events in the struggle for Civil Rights. Today, Mississippi is regarded as a unique and rich intersection of history, architecture, commerce, culture, and the arts.