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. Its first inhabitants, however, were the Natchez Indians.
Natchez was established as a French fort site overlooking the Mississippi River on August 3, 1716. Shortly after French settlers joined the Natchez Indians on the 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.
Natchez became part of the United States with the establishment of the Mississippi Territory in 1798 and served as the first capital for the new State of Mississippi in 1817.
Mild climate and rich soil brought planters to the area, who made their fortunes in cotton and slaves. A place resplendent with natural beauty, Natchez is perched over 200 feet above the Mississippi River, with 30-mile views along the river both north and south. Today, it’s a thriving location for Mississippi tourism.
Because Natchez did not hold a strategic position during the Civil War, it was spared much of the damage other cities suffered and remains home to more than 600 examples of historical architecture—more than any other city in the South. These historic homes and buildings, along with churches and other heritage sites, make Natchez a treasure trove for history buffs.
Of course, it is also the namesake for the Natchez Trace, the centuries-old, 444-mile path from Natchez to Nashville, long used by American Indians before becoming a U.S. thoroughfare. Today the Natchez Trace Parkway provides beautiful picnic areas, the rare Emerald Mound ceremonial mound, and the historic Mount Locust Inn, all just a few minutes’ drive from downtown Natchez. But Natchez is more than history. It’s easy elegance and casual charm, true hospitality, historic homes, lush gardens and moss-covered oaks and delicious down-home fare—with the attractions of a great small city: historic sites and museums, shopping, nightlife and gaming, a safe, walkable downtown, and a rich cultural scene.
Located inside the Natchez Visitors Center on Canal Street, Visit Natchez can provide you with Mississippi tourism information and the history of Natchez and its surrounding areas. If you’re planning a convention or corporate retreat and need a site that combines excellent pricing with a state-of-the-art convention center, spacious meeting venues, and services, we will personally show you how Natchez can meet your meeting needs.
If you’re planning a Mississippi wedding, we will connect you with some of the best caterers, florists, entertainment, photographers, and other wedding necessities south of the Mason-Dixon line. If you are after a romantic escape, group tour, or just a girlfriend getaway, give us a call, and we will help you book the ideal hotel or bed and breakfast. And whatever your plans, drop in for a friendly crash course on local lingo—you will be talking like a Natchez native in no time!