The birthplace of Mississippi
Natchez, the birthplace of Mississippi, is known internationally as a quaint, Southern town with a rich culture and heritage shaped by people of African, French, British and Spanish descent. It’s first inhabitants, however, were the Natchez Indians and it was French explorers who first came to the area and made it their home in peace with the tribe.
Shortly after French settlers joined the Natchez Indians on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, they brought people from western Africa as slaves to provide labor for development. These members of the Bambara tribe — whose name means “those who accept no master” — were the first Africans in what would become the State of Mississippi. Known for their abilities to cultivate the earth, the Bambarans contributed greatly to the economic growth of the region and the nation.
As the settlement grew, French, English and Spanish residents began constructing homes and buildings in the styles with which they were familiar, leaving several architectural influences and creating the unique backdrop to the city with which our residents and visitors enjoy today.
Today, the legacy of these original settlers lives on in the historical sites that enrich Natchez and its surroundings — including the churches of the state’s oldest Black-Baptist and Catholic congregations — and in the lives of the area’s vibrant community.
Visitors can explore Natchez history, including the community’s cultural, economic and political growth through the Natchez Visitor Center, the Natchez National Historical Park, Natchez African American History and Culture Museum and Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. These fascinating learning opportunities are complimented by celebrations and events throughout the year, including Fall and Spring Pilgrimage, The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration and many more.