ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Historic Sites of Biloxi, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Historic Sites of Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi, Mississippi
The beaches and casinos bring thousands of visitors
to beautiful Biloxi, a gleaming and historic jewel of
the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Biloxi, Mississippi
Beauvoir, home of President
Jefferson Davis, is one of the
key historic sites in Biloxi and
a Southern landmark.
Biloxi Lighthouse
The white iron tower of the
historic Biloxi Lighthouse has
survived two of the deadliest
hurricanes in American
history, Camille and Katrina.
Biloxi, Mississippi - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
The Gulf Coast of Mississippi
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Oaks, Sand and Water
The historic oaks of Biloxi
frame picturesque views of
the city's beautiful beaches
and the blue waters of the
Gulf of Mexico.
Casinos of Biloxi
The casinos and high rise
hotels are changing the face
of Biloxi, but the city is doing a
wonderful job of preserving its
scenery and past as well.
One of the most historic cities in America,
Biloxi overlooks the sparkling waters of
Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

Founded by Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville,
in 1699, Biloxi took its name from the Biloxi
Indians. This tribe was living at the site when
Iberville and the French came ashore on
February 13, 1699. The two groups got along
well and Biloxi soon became an important
French settlement.

In 1720, just twenty-one years later, the town
was named capital of French Louisiana.
Biloxi held the title only for three years,
however, before losing it to nearby New
Orleans.

Despite the relocation of the government,
Biloxi continued to grow. The city became an
English possession in 1763 as a result of
that nation's victory in the Seven Years War
(called the French and Indian War in
America). The British in turn lost possession
of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Spain two
decades later. The Spanish had allied with
the fledgling United States in the American
Revolution and gained what was then known
as West Florida at the end of that war.

In 1810, revolutionary forces took Baton
Rouge from the Spanish and Biloxi became
part of the short-lived Republic of West
Florida. The nation is best remembered
today for its flag, which consisted of a blue
field with a single white star. It was the flag of
the Republic of West Florida that the
Southern states later flew as the "Bonnie
Blue Flag" of Southern liberty.

The West Florida Republic did not last a
single year before it was occupied by the
forces of the United States. Biloxi, then home
to around 420 people, became a U.S. city at
last.

Mississippi became a state in 1817 and
Biloxi, already known for its beautiful views
and warm gulf breezes, grew as a resort city
for the inhabitants of the interior. It became
known as a favored place to escape the heat
and humidity of the Mississippi summer, a
status it enjoys to this day.

Hotels were established and in 1848 the
famed
Biloxi Lighthouse was built to provide
navigational assistance to the steamboats,
schooners and sloops that used Mississippi
Sound. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861,
however, brought a sudden but temporary
halt to the city's development as a summer
resort.

The beacon of the Biloxi Lighthouse was
darkened by the Confederates who also
mounted cannon in the unfinished fort
across the sound on Ship Island. Southern
forces soon evacuated the fort, however, and
it fell into the hands of the Union army, which
pushed forward its completion and named it
Fort Massachusetts. It stands on the island
today as a remarkable example of 19th
century military construction.

Biloxi itself surrendered to the Union Navy on
December 31, 1861. It would take many
years for the city to regain its status as a
favored resort area. It eventually did so,
however, thanks in no small part to the arrival
of former Confederate President Jefferson
Davis.

Davis came to Biloxi to live at Beauvoir, a
charming home that overlooked the sparkling
water. It was here that he completed the
writing of his monumental
The Rise and Fall
of the Confederate Government.
Jefferson Davis lived our the final years of his
life in Biloxi. His beloved Beauvoir was badly
damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but has been
beautifully restored.

Biloxi became the Seafood Capital of the
World during the early 20th century. As many
as 40 seafood factories operated in the city
during the 1920s. Gulf Coast shrimp are still
known as the finest in the world.

What would become Keesler Air Force Base
became part of the city with America's entry
into World War II. Medical facilities on the
base played a critical role in the early fight
against cancer for veterans and their families.

In 1969 and again in 2005, Biloxi and the
Mississippi Gulf Coast were targeted by two
of the worst hurricanes in human history.
Hurricane Camille hit the city on August 17,
1969, with sustained winds of 190 miles per
hour and gusts of more than 220 miles per
hour. A wall of water more than 17 feet high
came up from Mississippi Sound, sweeping
away people, homes and businesses.

Biloxi rebuilt and its location and resources
turned it into a prime area for development
when Mississippi approved legalized casino
gambling in 1992. On August 29, 2005,
however, Hurricane Katrina hit the city with
the highest storm surge ever recorded. More
than 28 feet high, the surge swept over the
beaches and demolished an estimated 90%
of the buildings in the city.

As the wind and rain calmed and the high
water receded, people looked up to see an
American flag hanging from the still-standing
Biloxi Lighthouse. The beautiful white tower
became a symbol of the city's resilience and
Biloxi tackled the process of rebuilding with a
determination all but unmatched in American
history.

The new city of Biloxi has risen from the
rubble and is one of the premier destinations
on the Gulf Coast. A wonderful community, it
combines scenic beauty and history with
modern restaurants, hotels, inns and
casinos.
Please click here to learn more.
Historic Sites in Mississippi