Gulfport, city (1990 pop. 40,775), seat of Harrison co., SE Miss., a port on Mississippi Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, in a resort area; inc. 1898. A port of entry, it receives large shipments of bananas. The city's diverse manufactures include ink and petroleum resins, steel, appliances, furniture, cleaning products, tungsten carbide, apparel, asphalt, metal products, transport tanks, boats, and barges. Gambling casinos and several military installations are in Gulfport. A number of antebellum homes remain, and the city has one of the longest artificial sand beaches (28 mi/45 km) in the world. De Soto National Forest is to the north; historic Ship Island, with its Civil War Fort Massachusetts, is 12 mi (19 km) out in the sound.
Gulfport was settled (1891) as the site for a railroad terminus. In 1902 its harbor was opened, and the city developed as an important lumber-shipping center. With the depletion of timber resources, Gulfport extended its shipping facilities and turned to manufacturing and a growing tourist trade. The city suffered severe damage, especially along the coast, from Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005.
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