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Jackson is both the largest city and the capital of the state of Mississippi, as well as one of two seats of government for Hinds County. Portions of the city extend into Madison County and Rankin County. The city was founded along the Natchez Trace trade route, along the Pearl River, and is part of the Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi. It was named for General Andrew Jackson, in honor of his role in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. The land that became Jackson was part of the Choctaw Nation until 1820, when it was acquired by the United States through the Treaty of Doak’s Stand. First known as LeFleur’s Bluff, Jackson was chosen as the site for the state capital in 1821. Originally, the city was set out in a checkerboard pattern, with city blocks alternating with parks or open spaces, but many of these green spaces have since been developed. Jackson was connected by road to Vicksburg and Clinton in 1826, and by railroad to other cities in 1840. Unlike most of Mississippi’s other large antebellum era cities, Jackson did not develop from major river commerce. Rather, its growth was spurred largely by the railroad. During the War of Northern Aggression, Jackson was a center of manufacturing for the Confederate States of America. In 1863, Union forces captured Jackson during two battles, before and after the fall of Vicksburg. During the first occupation, Union troops burned and looted key manufacturing and railroad facilities within the city. In the second, Northern troops burned most of the city. Few antebellum buildings survived in Jackson, but the Governor’s Mansion, built in 1842, was used as General Sherman’s headquarters, and thus survived. The Old Capitol building was also largely undamaged, as was the city hall building, as it was serving as a Union army hospital. The New Capitol replaced the old structure in 1903, and the former building now serves as a museum.

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