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":
... 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 have ...
... given to a four-lane road running along the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota ... 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 river ... its southern boundary over almost its entire length is the Mississippi River, there is cross traffic at only a handful of intersections, and few signal lights ...
... Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio ... 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 Frank ... Madigan Green River Hamilton County Heidecke Lake Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County) Iroquois County Kaskaskia River Kinkaid Lake Kishwaukee River LaSalle Lake Mackinaw ...
... while leaving the rights of riparian owners on the Mississippi River to be settled according to the principles of state law and relinquishing to the City of St ... impair the rights of other riparian proprietors by extending streets into the river ... was whether 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 ... Ferde Grofé composed a set of movements for symphony orchestra entitled "Mississippi Suite", based on the lands the river travels through ... movie musical Show Boat's central musical piece is the spiritual-influenced ballad "Ol' Man River" ...
Famous quotes containing the words river and/or mississippi:
“You scour the Bowery, ransack the Bronx,
Through funeral parlors and honky-tonks.
From river to river you comb the town
For a place to lay your family down.”
—Ogden Nash (19021971)
“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)