Today In History Spotlights Dec. 10, 1817, Mississippi Becomes 20th State

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Today’s History Spotlight


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Mississippi joined the Union as the 20th state in 1817 and gets its name from the Mississippi River, which forms its western border. Early inhabitants of the area that became Mississippi included the Choctaw, Natchez and Chickasaw.

Spanish explorers arrived in the region in 1540 but it was the French who established the first permanent settlement in present-day Mississippi in 1699. Mississippi’s name comes from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary. The name of the river is from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (“Great River” or “Gathering of Waters”).

What Happened On This Day – December 10

  • 2007 Argentina swears in first female elected President. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the first elected female President of Argentina.
  • 2001 Release of the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The award winning movie called The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was directed by Peter Jackson and was based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
  • 1948 UN General Assembly adopts Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document proclaimed, for the first time, fundamental human rights were to be universally protected.
  • 1901 First Nobel prize awarded. Five years after the death of Swedish chemist and inventor, Alfred Nobel’s, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded.
  • 1817 Mississippi becomes 20th state. Mississippi becomes the 20th state in the United States.

Births On This Day – December 10

  • 1956 Rod Blagojevich – American politician, 40th Governor of Illinois
  • 1908 Olivier Messiaen – French composer, ornithologist
  • 1878 C. Rajagopalachari – Indian lawyer, politician, 1st Governor General of India
  • 1830 Emily Dickinson – American poet
  • 1815 Ada Lovelace – English mathematician

Deaths On This Day – December 10

  • 2006 Augusto Pinochet – Chilean general, politician, 30th President of Chile
  • 1999 Franjo Tuđman – Croatian general, politician, 1st President of Croatia
  • 1967 Otis Redding – American singer-songwriter, producer
  • 1951 Algernon Blackwood – English author
  • 1896 Alfred Nobel – Swedish chemist, engineer, invented dynamite, founded the Nobel Prize

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at TimeandDate.com and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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