According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Mississippi's name was derived from a Native American language. The Online Etymology Dictionary explains that the name was originally that of the river. The name combines the Ojibwa words "mshi," meaning "big," and "ziibi," meaning "river."
Mississippi is one of the smaller states in the United States. It was first organized as a U.S. territory in 1798, then became the 20th state of the union when it achieved statehood in 1817. The state was historically known for a genteel, rural and relatively relaxed lifestyle. The old towns in the state feature a number of historic mansions that reflect this legacy.