The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States (though its drainage basin reaches into Canada), it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,530 miles (4,070 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 31 US states and 2 Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world. The river either borders or cuts through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Native Americans lived along the Mississippi and its tributaries. Most were hunter-gatherers or herders, but some, such as the Mound builders, formed prolific agricultural societies. The arrival of Europeans in the 1500s changed the native way of life as first explorers, then settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers. The river served first as barrier – forming borders for New Spain, New France, and the early United States – then as vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of Manifest Destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for pioneers partaking in the western expansion of the United States.
Formed from thick layers of this river's silt deposits, the Mississippi River Valley is one of the most fertile agricultural regions of the country, which resulted in the river's storied steamboat era. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory because of this very importance as a route of trade and travel, not least to the Confederacy. Because of substantial growth of cities and the larger ships and barges that have supplanted riverboats, the decades following the 1900s saw massive engineering works applied to the river system, such as the often in-combination construction of levees, locks and dams.
Since modern development of the basin began, the Mississippi has also seen its share of pollution and environmental problems – most notably large volumes of agricultural runoff, which has led to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone off the Delta. In recent years, the river has shown a steady shift towards the Atchafalaya River channel in the Delta; a course change would prove disastrous to seaports such as New Orleans. A system of dikes and gates has, so far, held the Mississippi at bay but, due to fluvial processes, the shift becomes more likely each year.
Other articles related to "mississippi river, river, mississippi":
... Road and Warner Road are the names given to a four-lane road running along the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota ... The road is a four-lane highway which closely follows the Mississippi River and connects some of the most historic parts of the Twin Cities which grew up along the ... boundary over almost its entire length is the Mississippi River, there is cross traffic at only a handful of intersections, and few signal lights ...
... that admitted Missouri into the Union while leaving the rights of riparian owners on the Mississippi River to be settled according to the principles of state law and relinquishing to ... proprietors by extending streets into the river ... Myers, the lessee of the property situated on the bank of the Mississippi River, within the City of St ...
... Zeppelin IV, was composed by Memphis Minnie McCoy in 1929 after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 ... for symphony orchestra entitled "Mississippi Suite", based on the lands the river travels through ... piece is the spiritual-influenced ballad "Ol' Man River" ...
... Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New ... Sites List of Illinois State Historic Sites State Forests Big River Hidden Springs Lowden-Miller Sand Ridge Trail of Tears State Recreation Areas Clinton Lake Eagle Creek Eldon Hazlet ... Madigan Green River Hamilton County Heidecke Lake Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County) Iroquois County Kaskaskia River Kinkaid Lake Kishwaukee River LaSalle Lake ...
... The La Crosse Queen is a modern-day replica of the grand river boats that plied the Mississippi River in the late 19th Century ... She is one of the few authentic Mississippi River paddlewheel river boats still in operation in the country today ... This is in contrast to most Mississippi River paddlewheelers in operation today that have a "free wheeling" paddlewheel at the stern of the boat for visual effect, but ...
Famous quotes containing the words river and/or mississippi:
“The rivers tent is broken; the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights.”
—T.S. (Thomas Stearns)
“Listen, my friend, Ive just come back from Mississippi and over there when you talk about the West Bank they think you mean Arkansas.”
—Patrick Buchanan (b. 1938)