The fierce Choctaws first inhabited Hancock County along the Gulf Coast because of its plentiful wild game in pristine pine savannahs and a bountiful sea. The landscape was wild but the Indians friendly when they welcomed French Canadian explorers in 1699. The explorers came for the same reason, abundant resources.
As the territory changed hands from Indian to French, French to Spanish, back to French and then the American territories, resources remained rich. Today's mixture of ethnicity is balanced by the strong roots to the past.