Natchez, city (1990 pop. 19,460), seat of Adams co., SW Miss., on bluffs above the Mississippi River; settled 1716, inc. 1803. It is the trade, shipping, and processing center for a soybean, corn, cotton, livestock, and timber area. It has lumber and pulpwood mills; manufactures include steel, transportation equipment, and machinery. Natchez was founded in 1716 when Fort Rosalie was established there; in 1729 members of the Natchez tribe killed the garrison troops. The area passed to England (1763), Spain (1779), and the United States (1798). Natchez was capital of the Mississippi Territory from 1798 to 1802, and was the state capital from 1817 to 1821. The southern terminus of the Natchez Trace, it became a great river port and the cultural center of the planter aristocracy before the Civil War, and was the site of one of the largest slave markets in the South. In the Civil War it was taken by Union forces in 1863. The city has preserved its antebellum architecture, and many historic homes are visited during the festival period in March and April. Natchez once housed a large, prosperous Jewish community and is home to the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. Also there are the Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture, the 1841 William Johnson House (owned by a freed slave who became a slave owner himself), the Melrose plantation, the prehistoric Grand Village of the Natchez tribe, and Jefferson College, Mississippi's first chartered educational institution and now a museum.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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