The Port of Vicksburg is the seat of Warren County, Mississippi. Lying at the mouth of the Yazoo River where it enters the Mississippi River, the Port of Vicksburg is part of the Mississippi River System. The Port of Vicksburg is about 88 nautical miles downriver (110 kilometers or 68 miles south-southeast) from the Port of Greenville, Mississippi. The Port of Vicksburg is almost 280 nautical miles upriver (280 kilometers or 175 miles north) of the Port of New Orleans. In 2010, almost 24 thousand people lived in the Port of Vicksburg.
The modern Port of Vicksburg is a popular tourist destination, especially since the gambling casinos came in the early 1990s. The Port of Vicksburg is a shipping center for agricultural products from the surrounding region. Manufacturing contributes to the local economy, generating products like light fixtures and wood and metal products. Poultry processing is also an important part of the Port of Vicksburg economy.
Long before Europeans came to the area, the Plaquemine culture populated the Lower Mississippi Valley as early as 700BC. The expedition of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto had a short violent encounter with the indigenous Natchez people, and it was almost 150 years before other Europeans ventured into the area. In the latter half of the 18th Century, French settlers met a powerful Natchez people led by strong ruling chiefs called Suns and a culture of ritual suicide.
In the 1700s, trade between England's South Carolina colony and indigenous tribes led Natchez and Yazoo warriors to join Chickasaw raiders in collecting native slaves to trade. French settlement of the territory grew as Europeans came to establish tobacco plantations. Between 1715 and 1730, the Natchez wars resulted in the French enslaving or killing most of the Natchez people. Fleeing the French, many Natchez took refuge with the Chickasaw.
After 1730, Natchez survivors of the wars with the French settled with the Creek, the Chickasaw, the Cherokee, or English colonists. Most of the people who lived with the Cherokee were part of the 1830 Trail of Tears. Today, about six thousand descendants of the Natchez people live within the Muscogee and Cherokee Nations of Oklahoma.
In 1798, the Spanish built a military outpost on the site of the future Port of Vicksburg in 1790, calling it Fort Nogales. Eight years later, the United States took possession of the outpost, and it was incorporated in 1825 as Vicksburg. During the American Civil War, the Port of Vicksburg surrendered to the Union Army after a 47-day siege, giving the Northern States control of the Mississippi River and marking the turning point of the war. It was 1945 before the people of the Port of Vicksburg celebrated the 4th of July.
In the 19th Century, the Mississippi River brought busy trade and steamboat traffic to the Port of Vicksburg. In 1894, world-famous Coca-Cola was bottled in the Port of Vicksburg for the first time by local confectioner Joseph Biedenharn. In 1903, the US Army Corps of Engineers diverted the Yazoo River into the old channel, bringing life back to the Port of Vicksburg waterfront. Barges and transfer steamers returned to the Port of Vicksburg, and the only rail-highway bridge linking Memphis and Baton Rouge was built across the Mississippi in 1929.
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 made the Port of Vicksburg a refugee gathering point when much of the Mississippi Delta was submerged, leading the Corps of Engineers to establish today's Engineer Research and Development Center in the Port of Vicksburg to learn how to protect crops and cities from flooding. In late 1953, a tornado hit the Port of Vicksburg, killing 38 people and destroying almost a thousand buildings.
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