Missouri River

The Missouri River is the longest river in North America and a major waterway of the central United States. Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for 2,341 miles (3,767 km) before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. The river takes drainage from a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of more than half a million square miles (1,300,000 km2), which includes parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.

For over 12,000 years, people have depended on the Missouri and its tributaries as a source of sustenance and transportation. More than ten major groups of Native Americans populated the watershed, most leading a nomadic lifestyle and dependent on enormous buffalo herds that once roamed through the Great Plains. The first Europeans encountered the river in the late seventeenth century, and the region passed through Spanish and French hands before finally becoming part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. The Missouri was long believed to be part of the Northwest Passage – a water route from the Atlantic to the Pacific – but when Lewis and Clark became the first to travel the river's entire length, they confirmed the mythical pathway to be no more than a legend.

The Missouri was one of the main routes for the westward expansion of the United States during the 19th century. The growth of the fur trade in the early 1800s laid much of the groundwork as trappers explored the region and blazed trails. Pioneers headed west en masse beginning in the 1830s, first by covered wagon, then by the growing numbers of steamboats entering service on the river. Former Native American lands in the watershed were taken over by settlers, leading to some of the most longstanding and violent wars against indigenous peoples in American history.

During the 20th century, the Missouri River basin was extensively developed for irrigation, flood control and the generation of hydroelectric power. Fifteen dams impound the main stem of the river, with hundreds more on tributaries. Meanders have been cut and the river channelized to improve navigation, reducing its length by almost 200 miles (320 km) from pre-development times. Although the lower Missouri valley is now a populous and highly productive agricultural and industrial region, heavy development has taken its toll on wildlife and fish populations as well as water quality.

Read more about Missouri RiverCourse, Watershed, Geology, First Peoples, Early Explorers, Dam-building Era, Navigation, Tourism and Recreation

Other articles related to "missouri river, river, missouri, rivers":

Lower Brule Indian Reservation
... It is located on the west bank of the Missouri River in central South Dakota in the United States ... themselves as Mdewakantonwan, Wahpetowan, Wahpekute, or Sisseton, range from the Ohio River valley to South Dakota ... range from eastern Minnesota to the Missouri River valley ...
Missouri River - Tourism and Recreation
... of open water, the six reservoirs of the Missouri River Mainstem System provide some of the main recreational areas within the basin ... Recreational use of Missouri River reservoirs is estimated to contribute $85–100 million to the regional economy each year ... and Clark National Historic Trail, some 3,700 miles (6,000 km) long, follows nearly the entire Missouri River from its mouth to its source ...
Steamboat Bertrand - Transportation Systems and The Montana Territory
... Only since 1859 had steamboats been traveling up the Missouri River to Fort Benton, Montana Territory ... partners entered the shipping business in 1864, creating a line to ship goods up the Missouri River to the frontiers of the Montana Territory ... goods to more remote locations some hundreds of miles from the river ...
Liberty Bend Bridge
... for the two cantilever truss bridges on Route 291 over the Missouri River in Sugar Creek, Missouri in the Kansas City metropolitan area ... Although the bridges cross over the Missouri River, they do not cross the county line ... When the Missouri River was rerouted in 1949, it cut across the northern part of Jackson County, Missouri ...
Milford Lake - Flood History - After Milford Dam
... Rivers and levees were holding the rising waters in check, but they were full ... Lakes along the upper and lower Missouri River Basin closed their gates so as not to add to the flooding that was beginning further downstream ... The rain continued until finally the rivers, levees, and lakes could hold no more and the Great Flood of 1993 went underway, with flooding of a magnitude not seen since 1951 ...

Famous quotes related to missouri river:

    Then they seen it, the old Missouri River shinin’ in the moon and across it the lights of St. Louis.
    Dudley Nichols (1895–1960)