Tunica County

Tunica County

The name Tunica comes from the Chickasaw Indians who lived in the area that is now Tunica County. Tunica was established as a county in 1836. Early settlers took control of the land and farmed with slaves brought from Africa. Lumber and cotton were some of the first raw materials cultivated in Tunica County.

Some of the first towns were located along the Mississippi River. Commerce and Austin were two of the first county seats, and most folks thought that they would become important trade towns. After military attacks during the Civil War and floods from the Mississippi River, the county seat moved from Austin to the town of Tunica in 1888 because of the railroad depot in Tunica.

After the Civil War Tunica County was home to many former slaves working as share-croppers, but after World War II mechanical advances in farming replaced the jobs of many share-croppers. The population dramatically decreased in Tunica County, and many people went to the North for jobs.

In 1985 Tunica became nationally known because of a place called Sugar Ditch. Sugar Ditch was an extremely impoverished part of an already poor county. In 1992 Tunica was able to get gamming in the county. Casinos have created 16,000 jobs, and millions of visitors go to Tunica for gambling each year. Tunica currently has nine operating casinos. Tunica is the third most visited casino destination in America. Roughly 4% of annual revenues go toward the local government which typically amount to over forty million dollars a year.