Largest city and state capital of Mississippi, USA, on the Pearl River, in the central part of the state, 70 km/43 mi east of Vicksburg; seat of Hinds County; population (2001 est) 185,800. It produces electrical machinery, furniture, cottonseed oil, and iron and steel castings, and owes its prosperity to the discovery of gas fields to the south in the 1930s. Jackson became state capital in 1821.
History The earliest European settler to arrive on the site of Jackson was French-Canadian trapper Louis Le Fleur in the 1790s, and the area was called Le Fleur's Bluff. In 1821 the settlement was renamed after US democrat and future president, Andrew Jackson. It was virtually destroyed by Union troops in 1863, during the American Civil War. Jackson was blighted by racial unrest for much of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Features The Old State Capitol, in use between 1839 and 1903, is now a museum, one of 46 entries on the national register of historic places. Jackson is home to the Mississippi Coliseum and Fair Grounds, which hosts the annual Mississippi State Fair. The city has a zoo and a symphony orchestra and is home to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Museum of Art. It is the seat of Jackson State University (1877), Belhaven College (1883), Millsaps College (1890), the Reformed Theological Seminary (1965), and the University of Mississippi Medical Centre (1955).