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Chartered as a town on March 12, 1803, Port Gibson is Mississippi's third-oldest European-American settlement, being occupied in 1729 by French colonists, as it was then within French-claimed territory, La Louisiane.

The now defunct Port Gibson Female College was founded here in 1843. One of its buildings now serves as the city hall.

Port Gibson was the site of several clashes during the American Civil War and figured in Ulysses S. Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. The Battle of Port Gibson occurred on May 1, 1863, and resulted in the deaths of over 200 Union and Confederate soldiers. The battle was a turning point in the Confederates' ability to hold Mississippi and defend against an amphibious attack.

Port Gibson has many historic buildings, including the Windsor Ruins, which have been shown in several motion pictures. Many of the town's historic buildings survived the Civil War because Grant proclaimed the city to be "too beautiful to burn." These words appear on the town's city limits signs.

Although Port Gibson no longer has a Jewish community, it boasts the only Moorish Revival building in Mississippi and the oldest synagogue in the state, the Gemiluth Chessed synagogue, built in 1892.

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