Biloxi (bĭlŭkˈsē) [key], city (1990 pop. 46,319), Harrison co., SE Miss., on a peninsula between Biloxi Bay and Mississippi Sound, on the Gulf of Mexico; inc. as a town 1838, as a city 1896. Industries here include fishing and boatbuilding, the packing and shipping of shrimp and oysters, and several small manufactures. Beginning in 1990, casinos made Biloxi, long a beach resort, the center of a gambling boom district (which includes neighboring Gulfport), with thousands of new hotel rooms.
The French established the first European settlement in the lower Mississippi valley in 1699 across the bay at Old Biloxi (now Ocean Springs). New Biloxi, founded in 1719, was the capital of French Louisiana until 1722, when New Orleans replaced it. Hurricane Camille wrecked the city's waterfront in 1969, and Katrina caused even greater devastation in 2005. Keesler Air Force Base and "Beauvoir" (built 1852–54), the last home of Jefferson Davis, are here, as is Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, designed by Frank Gehry. Off the coast are the western islands of Gulf Islands National Seashore, including Ship Island, a Union fort during the Civil War.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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