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 meandersslowly southwards for 2,530 miles (4,070 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
Because of substantial growth of cities and the larger ships and barges that have supplanted riverboats, the decades following the 1900s saw massiveengineering works applied to the river system, such as the often in-combination construction of levees, locks and dams. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
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; Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
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.
The word Mississippi itself comes from Messipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi (Great River). Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
See below in "History" section for additional information.
In addition to historical traditions shown by names, there are at least two other measures of a river's identity, one being the largest branch (by water volume), and the other being the longest branch. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
Using the largest-branch criterion, the Ohio would be the main branch of the Lower Mississippi, not the Middle and Upper Mississippi. Using the longest-branch criterion, the Middle Mississippi-Missouri-Jefferson-Beaverhead-Red Rock-Hellroaring Creek River would be the main branch. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
In either of these cases, despite its name, the Upper Mississippi from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to St. Louis, would not be part of the more significant branch flowing between St. Louis and the Gulf of Mexico.
While the Missouri River, flowing from the confluence of the Jefferson, Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
Madison and Gallatin Rivers to the Mississippi, is the longest continuously named river in the United States, the serially named river known sequentially as Hellroaring Creek, Red Rock, Beaverhead, Jefferson, Missouri, Middle Mississippi, and Lower Mississippi, as one continuous waterway, Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
is the longest river in North America and the third or fourth longest river in the world. Its length of at least 3,745 mi (6,027 km) is exceeded only by the Nile, the Amazon, and perhaps the Yangtze Riveramong the longest rivers in the world. The source of this waterway is at Brower's Spring, Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
8,800 feet (2,700 m) above sea level in southwestern Montana, along the Continental Divide outside Yellowstone National Park.
The unifying name "Great American River" has been suggested for this multiple named waterway. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
However, the names "Mississippi River" for the water course from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, "Missouri River" for its major western portion, and "Ohio River" for its major eastern portion are so well established that neither reassignment of names nor creation of novel names can be seriously considered as replacements for current usage. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
Furthermore, the north-south course of the waterway commonly known as the Mississippi River is widely considered a convenient if approximate dividing line between the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern United States and the Western U.S., as exemplified by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the phrase "Trans-Mississippi", Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
used for example in the name of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition held in Omaha, Nebraska.The geographical setting of the Mississippi River includes considerations of the course of the river itself, its watershed, its outflow, its prehistoric and historic course changes, and possibilities of future course changes. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
The New Madrid Seismic Zone along the river is also noteworthy. These various basic geographical aspects of the river in turn underlie its human history and present uses of the waterway and its adjacent lands. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
The Mississippi River is divided into the Upper Mississippi, the Middle Mississippi, and the Lower Mississippi, with the Upper Mississippi upriver of its confluence with the Missouri River, the Middle Mississippi from there downriver to the Ohio River, and the Lower Mississippi from there downriver to the Gulf of Mexico. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
The Mississippi River is known as the Upper Mississippi from its headwaters to its confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri. The Upper Mississippi is divided into two sections:The headwaters, 493 miles (793 km), from the source to Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
A navigable channel, formed by a series of man-made lakes between Minneapolis and St. Louis, Missouri, 664 miles (1,069 km)
The source of the Upper Mississippi branch is traditionally accepted as Lake Itasca, 1,475 feet (450 m) above sea level in Itasca State Park in Clearwater County, Minnesota. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
The name "Itasca" is a combination of the last four letters of the Latin word for truth (veritas) and the first two letters of the Latin word for head (caput). However, the lake is in turn fed by a number of smaller streams, of which one might be selected as the river's ultimate source.
From its origin at Lake Itasca to St. Louis, Missouri, the waterway's flow is moderated by 43 dams. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
Fourteen of these dams are located above Minneapolis in the headwaters region and serve multiple purposes, including power generation and recreation. The remaining 29 dams, beginning in downtown Minneapolis, all contain locks and were constructed to improve commercial navigation of the upper river. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
Taken as a whole these 43 dams significantly shape the geography and influence the ecology of the upper river. Beginning just below Saint Paul, Minnesota, and continuing throughout the upper and lower river, the Mississippi is further controlled by thousands of wing dikes that moderate the river's flow in order to maintain an open navigation channel and prevent the river from eroding its banks. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
The head of navigation on the Mississippi is the Coon Rapids Dam in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Before its construction in 1913, steamboats could occasionally go upstream as far as Saint Cloud, Minnesota, depending on river conditions.
The uppermost lock and dam on the Upper Mississippi River is the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in Minneapolis. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
Above the dam, the river's elevation is 799 feet (244 m). Below the dam, the river's elevation is 750 feet (230 m). This 49-foot (15 m) drop is the largest of all the Mississippi River locks and dams. The origin of the dramatic drop is a waterfall preserved adjacent to the lock under an apron of concrete. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
Saint Anthony Falls is the only true waterfall on the entire Mississippi River. The water elevation continues to drop steeply as it passes through the gorge carved by the waterfall.
The Upper Mississippi features various natural and artificial lakes, with its widest point being Lake Winnibigoshish, nearGrand Rapids, Minnesota, over 7 miles (11 km) across. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
Also of note is Lake Onalaska (created by Lock and Dam No. 7), near La Crosse, Wisconsin, over 4 miles (6.4 km) wide. On the other hand, Lake Pepin is natural, formed due to the delta formed by the Chippewa River of Wisconsin as it enters the Upper Mississippi; it is more than 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
By the time the Upper Mississippi reaches Saint Paul, Minnesota, below Lock and Dam No. 1, it has dropped more than half its original elevation and is 687 feet (209 m) above sea level. From St. Paul to St. Louis, Missouri, the river elevation falls much more slowly, and is controlled and managed as a series of pools created by 26 locks and dams. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
The Upper Mississippi River is joined by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling in the Twin Cities; the St. Croix River nearPrescott, Wisconsin; the Cannon River near Red Wing, Minnesota; the Black, La Crosse, and Root rivers in La Crosse, Wisconsin; the Wisconsin River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin; Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
the Rock River at the Quad Cities; the Iowa River near Wapello, Iowa; the Skunk River south of Burlington, Iowa; and the Des Moines River at Keokuk, Iowa. Other major tributaries of the Upper Mississippi include the Crow River in Minnesota, the Chippewa River in Wisconsin, the Maquoketa River and theWapsipinicon River in Iowa, and the Big Muddy River and Illinois River. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
The Upper Mississippi is largely a multi-thread stream with many bars and islands. From its confluence with the St. Croix River downstream to Dubuque, Iowa, the river is entrenched, with high bedrock bluffs lying on either side. The height of these bluffs decreases to the south of Dubuque, though they are still significant through Savanna, Illinois. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
This topography contrasts strongly with the Lower Mississippi, which is a meandering river in a broad, flat area, only rarely flowing alongside a bluff (as at Vicksburg, Mississippi).
The Mississippi River is known as the Middle Mississippi from the Upper Mississippi River's confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
Missouri, for 190 miles (310 km) to its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.
The Middle Mississippi is a relatively free-flowing river. From St. Louis to the Ohio River confluence, the Middle Mississippi falls a total of 220 feet (67 m) over a distance of 180 miles (290 km) for an average rate of 1.2 feet per mile (23 cm/km). Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
At its confluence with the Ohio River, the Middle Mississippi is 315 feet (96 m) above sea level. Apart from theMissouri River, and the Kaskaskia River in Illinois, no major tributaries enter the Middle Mississippi River.
The Mississippi River is called the Lower Mississippi River from its confluence with the Ohio River to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
Measured by water volume, the Lower Mississippi's primary branch is the Ohio River. At the confluence of the Ohio and the Middle Mississippi, the Ohio is the bigger river, with its long-term mean discharge at Cairo, Illinois being 281,500 cu ft/s (7,970 m3/s),while the long-term mean discharge of the Mississippi at Thebes, Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
Illinois (just upriver from Cairo) is 208,200 cu ft/s (5,900 m3/s). Thus, by volume, the main branch of the Mississippi River system at Cairo can be considered to be the Ohio River (and the Allegheny River further upstream), rather than the Middle Mississippi. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
In addition to the Ohio River, the major tributaries of the Lower Mississippi River are the White River, flowing in at theWhite River National Wildlife Refuge in east central Arkansas; the Arkansas River, joining the Mississippi at Arkansas Post; the Big Black River in Mississippi; Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
the Yazoo River, meeting the Mississippi at Vicksburg, Mississippi; and the Red River in Louisiana. The widest point of the Mississippi River is in the Lower Mississippi portion where it exceeds 1 mile (1.6 km) in width in several places.
Deliberate water diversion at the Old River Control Structure in Louisiana allows Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery
the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana to be a major distributary of the Mississippi River, with 30% of the Mississippi flowing to the Gulf of Mexico by this route, rather than continuing down the Mississippi's current channel pastBaton Rouge and New Orleans on a longer route to the Gulf. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery
The Mississippi River has the world's fourth largest drainage basin ("watershed" or "catchment"). The basin covers more than 1,245,000 sq mi (3,220,000 km2), including all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The drainage basin empties into the Gulf of Mexico, part of the Atlantic Ocean. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery
The total catchment of the Mississippi River covers nearly 40% of the landmass of the continental United States.In the United States, the Mississippi River drains the majority of the area between crest of the Rocky Mountains and the crest of the Appalachian Mountains, except for various regions drained to Hudson Bay by the Red River of the North; Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
to the Atlantic Ocean by the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River; and to the Gulf of Mexico by the Rio Grande, the Alabama andTombigbee rivers, the Chattahoochee and Appalachicola rivers, and various smaller coastal waterways along the Gulf. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles (160 km) downstream from New Orleans. Measurements of the length of the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico vary somewhat, but the United States Geological Survey's number is 2,340 miles (3,770 km). Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery
The retention time from Lake Itasca to the Gulf is typically about 90 days.
The Mississippi River discharges at an annual average rate of between 200 and 700 thousand cubic feet per second (7,000–20,000 m3/s). Although it is the 5th largest river in the world by volume, Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery
this flow is a mere fraction of the output ofthe Amazon, which moves nearly 7 million cubic feet per second (200,000 m3/s) during wet seasons. On average, the Mississippi has only 8% the flow of the Amazon River.
Fresh river water flowing from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico does not mix into the salt water immediately. Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery
The images from NASA's MODIS (to the right) show a large plume of fresh water, which appears as a dark ribbon against the lighter-blue surrounding waters. These images demonstrate that the plume did not mix with the surrounding sea water immediately. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
Instead, it stayed intact as it flowed through the Gulf of Mexico, into the Straits of Florida, and entered theGulf Stream. The Mississippi River water rounded the tip of Florida and traveled up the southeast coast to the latitude ofGeorgia before finally mixing in so thoroughly with the ocean that it could no longer be detected by MODIS. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Prior to 1900, the Mississippi River transported an estimated 400 million metric tons of sediment per year from the interior of the United States to coastal Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. During the last two decades, this number was only 145 million metric tons per year. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
The reduction in sediment transported down the Mississippi River is the result of engineering modification of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers and their tributaries by dams, meander cutoffs, river-training structures, and bank revetments and soil erosion control programs in the areas drained by them. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
Over geologic time, the Mississippi River has experienced numerous large and small changes to its main course, as well as additions, deletions, and other changes among its numerous tributaries, and the lower Mississippi River has used different pathways as its main channel to the Gulf of Mexico across the delta region. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
Through a natural process known as avulsion or delta switching, the lower Mississippi River has shifted its final course to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico every thousand years or so. This occurs because the deposits of silt and sediment begin to clog its channel, raising the river's level and causing it to eventually find a steeper, more direct route to the Gulf of Mexico. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
The abandoned distributaries diminish in volume and form what are known as bayous. This process has, over the past 5,000 years, caused the coastline of south Louisiana to advance toward the Gulf from 15 to 50 miles (25–80 km). The currently active delta lobe is called the Birdfoot Delta, after its shape, or the Balize Delta, after La Balize, Louisiana, the first French settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
The current form of the Mississippi River basin was largely shaped by the Laurentide Ice Sheet of the most recent Ice Age. The southernmost extent of this enormous glaciation extended well into the present-day United States and Mississippi basin. Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
When the ice sheet began to recede, hundreds of feet of rich sediment were deposited, creating the flat and fertile landscape of the Mississippi Valley. During the melt, giant glacial rivers found drainage paths into the Mississippi watershed, creating such features as the Minnesota River, James River, and Milk River valleys. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
When the ice sheet completely retreated, many of these "temporary" rivers found paths to Hudson Bay or the Arctic Ocean, leaving the Mississippi Basin with many features "oversized" for the existing rivers to have carved in the same time period.
Ice sheets during the Illinoian Stage about 300,000 to 132,000 years before present, Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
blocked the Mississippi near Rock Island, Illinois, diverting it to its present channel farther to the west, the current western border of Illinois. The Hennepin Canal roughly follows the ancient channel of the Mississippi downstream from Rock Island to Hennepin, Illinois. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
South of Hennepin, to Alton, Illinois, the current Illinois River follows the ancient channel used by the Mississippi River before the Illinoian Stage.
In March 1876, the Mississippi suddenly changed course near the settlement of Reverie, Tennessee, leaving a small part ofTipton County, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
Tennessee, attached to Arkansas and separated from the rest of Tennessee by the new river channel. Since this event was an avulsion, rather than the effect of incremental erosion and deposition, the state line remains located in the old channel.
Geologists consider the next major change in the course of the Lower Mississippi now overdue. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
Either of two new routes – through the Atchafalaya Basin or through Lake Pontchartrain — might become the Mississippi's main channel if flood-control structures are overtopped or heavily damaged during a severe flood. However, the Mississippi returned to its present course following the great floods in 2011. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
Failure of the Old River Control Structure, the Morganza Spillway, or nearby levees would likely re-route the main channel of the Mississippi through Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin and down the Atchafalaya River to reach the Gulf of Mexico south of Morgan City in southern Louisiana. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
This route provides a more direct path to the Gulf of Mexico than the present Mississippi River channel through Baton Rouge and New Orleans. While the risk of such a diversion is present during any major flood event (such as those of 1973 or 2011), such a change has so far been prevented by active human intervention involving the construction, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
maintenance, and operation of various levees, spillways, and other control structures by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.The Old River Control Structure, between the present Mississippi River channel and the Atchafalaya Basin, sits at the normal water elevation and is ordinarily used to divert 30% of the Mississippi's flow to the Atchafalaya River. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
There is a steep drop here away from the Mississippi's main channel into the Atchafalaya Basin. If this facility were to fail during a major flood, there is a strong concern the water would scour and erode the river bottom enough to capture the Mississippi's main channel. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
The structure was nearly lost during the 1973 flood, but repairs and improvements were made after engineers studied the forces at play. In particular, the Corps of Engineers made many improvements and constructed additional facilities for routing water through the vicinity. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery
These additional facilities give the Corps much more flexibility and potential flow capacity than they had in 1973, which further reduces the risk of a catastrophic failure in this area during other major floods, such as those of 2011.
Because the Morganza Spillway is located at slightly higher elevation well back from the river, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery
it is normally dry on both sides. Even if this structure were to fail at the crest during a severe flood, the flood waters would have to cause a significant amount of erosion, down to normal water levels, before the Mississippi could permanently jump channel at this location. Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery
During the 2011 floods, the Corps of Engineers decided to open the Morganza Spillway to 1/4 of its capacity to allow 150,000 ft3/sec of water to flood the Morganza and Atchafalaya floodways and continue directly to the Gulf of Mexico, bypassing Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery
In addition to reducing the Mississippi River crest downstream, this diversion is also reducing the chances of a channel change by reducing stress on the other elements of the control system.Some geologists have noted that the possibility for course change into the Atchafalaya also exists in the area immediately north of the Old River Control Structure. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery
Army Corps of Engineers geologist Fred Smith once stated, "The Mississippi wants to go west. 1973 was a forty-year flood. The big one lies out there somewhere—when the structures can't release all the floodwaters and the levee is going to have to give way. That is when the river's going to jump its banks and try to break through." Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery
If the main channel of the lower Mississippi River changes permanently to the Old River and Atchafalaya River channels in the Atchafalaya Basin, thus bypassing Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the ecological and economic consequences for Louisiana, the region, the nation, and international commerce would be immense. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery
Sedimentation and erosion patterns would quickly change greatly, including development of a new river channel and delta, as well as a new pattern offloodplains, natural levees, and backswamps. Changes to salinity of coastal waters (less saline near new delta, more saline near the present delta) would affectmarine life, fisheries, beaches, and coastal marshes. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery
The abandoned river channel would eventually fill and revegetate, probably with a major influx of invasive non-native species. On the other hand, the low-lying outer parts of the present delta, lacking replenishment, would mostly soon erode away. Over time, the new channel would itself develop meanders and cutoffs, eventually leading to formation of new oxbow lakes. Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery
Human society would also be greatly altered locally, with broader consequences nationally and globally. Transportation by road, rail, sea, and river barge would all be dramatically affected, and various sizable new bridges would be urgently needed. Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery
Existing port facilities may have to be relocated or replaced, and channel alterations would be needed to maintain any substantial degree of commercial shipping on either the new or the old channel of the Mississippi. Power lines, pipelines, and fiber-optic and other communications lines would be similarly disrupted, and housing, Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery
agriculture, forestry, petroleum-production facilities, and other land uses would be suddenly altered, as would patterns of recreational activities. Morgan City in particular would be quite heavily impacted. Values of many properties would be greatly altered, some increasing, some decreasing, and ownership claims would need to be resolved for the newly exposed land of the old riverbed. Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery
Another possible course change for the Mississippi River is a diversion into Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, Louisiana. This route is currently controlled by the Bonnet Carré Spillway, built to reduce flooding in New Orleans. However, the spillway and an imperfect natural levee about 4–6 meters (12 to 20 feet) Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery
high are all that prevents the Mississippi from taking a new, shorter course through Lake Pontchartrain to the Gulf of Mexico. Diversion of the Mississippi's main channel through Lake Pontchartrain would have generally similar consequences to an Atchafalaya diversion, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery
but to a lesser extent, since the present river channel would remain in use past Baton Rouge and into the New Orleans area. Following a Lake Pontchartrain diversion, the Mississippi's new delta would develop offshore of southern Mississippi.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone, along the Mississippi River near New Madrid, Missouri, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery
between Memphis and St. Louis, is related to an aulacogen (failed rift) that formed at the same time as the Gulf of Mexico. This area is still quite active seismically. Four great earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, estimated at approximately 8 on the Richter magnitude scale, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery
had tremendous local effects in the then sparsely settled area, and were felt in many other places in the midwestern and eastern U.S. These earthquakes created Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee from the altered landscape near the river, and temporarily reversed the direction of flow of the Mississippi itself. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery
The Mississippi River runs through or along 10 states, from Minnesota to Louisiana, and was used to define portions of these states' borders, with Wisconsin,Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi along the east side of the river, and Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas along its west side. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery
Substantial parts of both Minnesota and Louisiana are on either side of the river, although the Mississippi defines part of the boundary of each of these states.
In all of these cases, the middle of the riverbed at the time the borders were established was used as the line to define the borders between adjacent states. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery
In various areas, the river has since shifted, but the state borders have not changed, still following the former bed of the Mississippi River as of their establishment, leaving several small isolated areas of one state across the new river channel, contiguous with the adjacent state. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery
Also, due to a meander in the river, a small part of western Kentucky is contiguous with Tennessee, but isolated from the rest of its state.
The first bridge across the Mississippi River was built in 1855. It spanned the river in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the current Hennepin Avenue Bridge is located. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery
No highway or railroad tunnels cross under the Mississippi River.
The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi was built in 1856. It spanned the river between the Rock Island Arsenal inIllinois and Davenport, Iowa. Steamboat captains of the day, fearful of competition from the railroads, considered the new bridge "a hazard to navigation". Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery
Two weeks after the bridge opened, the steamboat Effie Afton rammed part of the bridge, catching it on fire. Legal proceedings ensued, with Abraham Lincoln defending the railroad. The lawsuit went to the Supreme Court of the United States and was eventually ruled in favor of the railroad. Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery
Below is a general overview of selected Mississippi bridges which have notable engineering or landmark significance, with their cities or locations. They are sequenced from the Upper Mississippi's source to the Lower Mississippi's mouth.
A clear channel is needed for the barges and other vessels that make the main stem Mississippi one of the great commercialwaterways of the world. Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery
The task of maintaining a navigation channel is the responsibility of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which was established in 1802. Earlier projects began as early as 1829 to remove snags, close off secondary channels and excavate rocks and sandbars.Steamboats entered trade in the 1820s, so the period 1830 – 1850 became the golden age of steamboats. Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery
As there were few roads or rails in the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, river traffic was an ideal solution. Cotton, timber and food came down the river, as did Appalachian coal. The port of New Orleans boomed as it was the trans-shipment point to deep sea ocean vessels. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery
As a result, the image of the twin stacked, wedding cake Mississippi steamer entered into American mythology. Steamers worked the entire route from the trickles of Montana, to the Ohio river; down the Missouri and Tennessee, to the main channel of the Mississippi. Only with the arrival of the railroads in the 1880s did steamboat traffic diminish. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery
Steamboats remained a feature until the 1920s. Most have been superseded by pusher tugs. A few survive as icons—the Delta Queen and the River Queen for instance.A series of 29 locks and dams on the upper Mississippi, most of which were built in the 1930s, is designed primarily to maintain a 9 feet (2.7 m) deep channel for commercial barge traffic. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery
The lakes formed are also used for recreational boating and fishing. The dams make the river deeper and wider but do not stop it. No flood control is intended. During periods of high flow, the gates, some of which are submersible, are completely opened and the dams simply cease to function. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery
Below St. Louis, the Mississippi is relatively free-flowing, although it is constrained by numerous levees and directed by numerous wing dams.In 1829, there were surveys of the two major obstacles on the upper Mississippi, the Des Moines Rapids and the Rock Island Rapids, where the river was shallow and the riverbed was rock. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery
The Des Moines Rapids were about 11 mi (18 km) long and just above the mouth of the Des Moines River at Keokuk, Iowa. The Rock Island Rapids were between Rock Island and Moline, Illinois. Both rapids were considered virtually impassable.
In 1848, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was built to connect the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan via the Illinois River near Peru, Illinois. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery
The canal allowed shipping between these important waterways. In 1900, the canal was replaced by theChicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The second canal, in addition to shipping, also allowed Chicago to address specific health issues (typhoid fever, cholera and other waterborne diseases) by sending its waste down the Illinois and Mississippi river systems rather than polluting its water source of Lake Michigan. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery
The Corps of Engineers recommended the excavation of a 5 ft (1.5 m) deep channel at the Des Moines Rapids, but work did not begin until after Lieutenant Robert E. Lee endorsed the project in 1837. The Corps later also began excavating the Rock Island Rapids. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery
By 1866, it had become evident that excavation was impractical, and it was decided to build a canal around the Des Moines Rapids. The canal opened in 1877, but the Rock Island Rapids remained an obstacle. In 1878, Congress authorized the Corps to establish a 4.5-foot (1.4 m) Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery
deep channel to be obtained by building wing dams which direct the river to a narrow channel causing it to cut a deeper channel, by closing secondary channels and by dredging. The channel project was complete when the Moline Lock, which bypassed the Rock Island Rapids, opened in 1907. Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery
To improve navigation between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, the Corps constructed several dams on lakes in the headwaters area, including Lake Winnibigoshish and Lake Pokegama. The dams, which were built beginning in the 1880s, stored spring run-off which was released during low water to help maintain channel depth. Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery
In 1907, Congress authorized a 6-foot (1.8 m) deep channel project on the Mississippi, which was not complete when it was abandoned in the late 1920s in favor of the 9 feet (2.7 m) deep channel project.In 1913, construction was complete on a dam at Keokuk, Iowa, the first dam below St. Anthony Falls. Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery
Built by a private power company to generate electricity, the Keokuk dam was one of the largest hydro-electric plants in the world at the time. The dam also eliminated the Des Moines Rapids. Lock and Dam No. 1 was completed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1917. Lock and Dam No. 2, near Hastings, Minnesota was completed in 1930. Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery
Prior to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the Corps' primary strategy was to close off as many side channels as possible to increase the flow in the main river. It was thought that the river's velocity would scour off bottom sediments, deepening the river and decreasing the possibility of flooding. Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery
The 1927 flood proved this to be so wrong that communities threatened by the flood began to create their own levee breaks to relieve the force of the rising river.The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1930 authorized the 9 feet (2.7 m) channel project, which called for a navigation channel 9 ft (2.7 m) deep and 400 ft (120 m) wide to accommodate multiple-barge tows. Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery
This was achieved by a series of locks and dams, and by dredging. Twenty-three new locks and dams were built on the upper Mississippi in the 1930s in addition to the three already in existence.Until the 1950s, there was no dam below Lock and Dam 26 at Alton, Illinois. Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery
Chain of Rocks Lock (Lock and Dam No. 27), which consists of a low-water dam and an 8.4 mi (13.5 km) long canal, was added in 1953, just below the confluence with the Missouri River, primarily to bypass a series of rock ledges at St. Louis. It also serves to protect the St. Louis city water intakes during times of low water. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery
U.S. government scientists determined in the 1950s that the Mississippi River was starting to switch to the Atchafalaya River channel because of its much steeper path to the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually the Atchafalaya River would capture the Mississippi River and become its main channel to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving New Orleans on a side channel. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery
As a result, the U.S. Congress authorized a project called the Old River Control Structure, which has prevented the Mississippi River from leaving its current channel that drains into the Gulf via New Orleans.Because the large scale of high-energy water flow threatened to damage the structure, an auxiliary flow control station was built adjacent to the standing control station. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery
This US$ 300 million project was completed in 1986 by the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers. Beginning in the 1970s, the Corps applied hydrological transport models to analyze flood flow and water quality of the Mississippi. Dam 26 at Alton, Illinois, which had structural problems, was replaced by the Mel Price Lock and Dam in 1990. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery
The original Lock and Dam 26 was demolished.
The Corps now actively creates and maintains spillways and floodways to divert periodic water surges into backwater channels and lakes, as well as route part of the Mississippi's flow into the Atchafalaya Basin and from there to the Gulf of Mexico, bypassing Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery
The main structures are the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway in Missouri; the Old River Control Structure and the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana, which direct excess water down the west and east sides (respectively) of the Atchafalaya River; and the Bonnet Carré Spillway, also in Louisiana, which directs floodwaters to Lake Pontchartrain (see diagram). Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery
Some of the pre-1927 strategy is still in use today, with the Corps actively cutting the necks ofhorseshoe bends, allowing the water to move faster and reducing flood heights.The area of the Mississippi River basin was first settled by hunting and gathering Native American peoples and is considered one the few independent centers of plant domestication in human history.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery
Evidence of early cultivation of sunflower, a goosefoot, a marsh elder and an indigenous squash dates to the 4th millennium BCE. The lifestyle gradually became more settled after around 1000 BCE during what is now called theWoodland period, with increasing evidence of shelter construction, pottery, weaving and other practices. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery
A network of trade routes referred to as the Hopewell interaction sphere was active along the waterways between about 200 and 500 CE, spreading common cultural practices over the entire area between the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. A period of more isolated communities followed, and agriculture introduced from Mesoamerica based on the Three Sisters (maize, beans and squash) gradually came to dominate. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery
After around 800 CE there arose an advanced agricultural society today referred to as theMississippian culture, with evidence of highly stratified complex chiefdoms and large population centers. The most prominent of these, now called Cahokia, was occupied between about 600 and 1400 CESony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery
and at its peak numbered between 8,000 and 40,000 inhabitants, larger than London, England of that time. At the time of first contact with Europeans, Cahokia and many other Mississippian cities had dispersed, and archaeological finds attest to increased social stress. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery
Modern American Indian nations inhabiting the Mississippi basin include Cheyenne, Sioux, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Fox,Kickapoo, Tamaroa, Moingwena, Quapaw and Chickasaw.The word Mississippi itself comes from Messipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery
Misi-ziibi (Great River). The Ojibwe called Lake Itasca Omashkoozo-zaaga'igan (Elk Lake) and the river flowing out of it Omashkoozo-ziibi (Elk River). After flowing into Lake Bemidji, the Ojibwe called the river Bemijigamaag-ziibi(River from the Traversing Lake).Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery
After flowing into Cass Lake, the name of the river changes to Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag-ziibi(Red Cedar River) and then out of Lake Winnibigoshish as Wiinibiigoozhish-ziibi (Miserable Wretched Dirty Water River), Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery
Gichi-ziibi (Big River) after the confluence with the Leech Lake River, then finally as Misi-ziibi (Great River) after the confluence with the Crow Wing River. After the expeditions by Giacomo Beltrami and Henry Schoolcraft, the longest stream above the juncture of the Crow Wing River and Gichi-ziibi was named "Mississippi River". Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery
The Mississippi River Band of Chippewa Indians, known as the Gichi-ziibiwininiwag, are named after the stretch of the Mississippi River known as the Gichi-ziibi. The Cheyenne, one of the earliest inhabitants of the upper Mississippi River, called it the Máʼxe-éʼometaaʼe (Big Greasy River) in the Cheyenne language. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery
The Arapaho name for the river is Beesniicíe. The Pawnee name is Kickaátit.
On May 8, 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto became the first recorded European to reach the Mississippi River, which he called Río del Espíritu Santo ("River of the Holy Spirit"), in the area of what is now Mississippi. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery
In Spanish, the river is called Río Mississippi.
French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi in the 17th century. Marquette traveled with a Sioux Indian who named it Ne Tongo ("Big river" in Sioux language) in 1673. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery
Marquette proposed calling it the River of the Immaculate Conception.
When Louis Jolliet explored the Mississippi Valley in the 17th century, natives guided him to a quicker way to return to French Canada via the Illinois River. When he found the Chicago Portage, Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery
he remarked that a canal of "only half a league" (less than 2 miles (3.2 km), 3 km) would join the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. In 1848, the continental divide separating the waters of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley was breached by the Illinois and Michigan canal via the Chicago River. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery
This both accelerated the development, and forever changed the ecology of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes.In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Henri de Tonti claimed the entire Mississippi River Valley for France, calling the river Colbert River after Jean-Baptiste Colbert and the region La Louisiane, for King Louis XIV. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery
On March 2, 1699, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville rediscovered the mouth of the Mississippi, following the death of La Salle. The French built the small fort ofLa Balise there to control passage.In 1718, about 100 miles (160 km) upriver, New Orleans was established along the river crescent by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery
Sieur de Bienville, with construction patterned after the 1711 resettlement on Mobile Bay of Mobile, the capital of French Louisiana at the time.
Following Britain's victory in the Seven Years War the Mississippi became the border between the British and Spanish Empires.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CJS Battery
The Treaty of Paris (1763) gave Great Britain rights to all land east of the Mississippi and Spain rights to land west of the Mississippi. Spain also ceded Florida to Britain to regain Cuba, which the British occupied during the war. Britain then divided the territory into East and West Florida. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CYS Battery
Article 8 of the Treaty of Paris (1783) states, "The navigation of the river Mississippi, from its source to the ocean, shall forever remain free and open to the subjects of Great Britain and the citizens of the United States". With this treaty, which ended the American Revolutionary War, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92DS Battery
Britain also ceded West Florida back to Spain to regain the Bahamas, which Spain had occupied during the war. In 1800, under duress from Napoleon of France, Spain ceded an undefined portion of West Florida to France. When France then sold the Louisiana Territory to the US in 1803, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92JS Battery
a dispute arose again between Spain and the U.S. on which parts of West Florida exactly had Spain ceded to France, which would in turn decide which parts of West Florida were now U.S. property versus Spanish property. These aspirations ended when Spain was pressured into signing Pinckney's Treaty in 1795. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92YS Battery
France reacquired 'Louisiana' from Spain in the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. The United States then bought the territory from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In 1815, the U.S. defeated Britain at the Battle of New Orleans, part of the War of 1812, securing American control of the river. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93FS Battery
So many settlers traveled westward through the Mississippi river basin, as well as settled in it, that Zadok Cramer wrote a guide book called The Navigator, detailing the features and dangers and navigable waterways of the area. It was so popular that he updated and expanded it through 12 editions over a period of 25 years. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93GS Battery
The colonization of the area was barely slowed by the three earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, estimated at approximately 8 on theRichter magnitude scale, that were centered near New Madrid, Missouri.
Mark Twain's book, Life on the Mississippi, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93HS Battery
covered the steamboat commerce which took place from 1830 to 1870 on the river before more modern ships replaced the steamer. The book was published first in serial form in Harper's Weekly in seven parts in 1875. The full version, including a passage from the unfinished Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and works from other authors, was published by James R. Osgood & Company in 1885. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZFS Battery
The first steamboat to travel the full length of the Lower Mississippi from the Ohio River to New Orleans was the New Orleansin December 1811. Its maiden voyage occurred during the series of New Madrid earthquakes in 1811–12. Steamboat transport remained a viable industry, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZGS Battery
both in terms of passengers and freight until the end of the first decade of the 20th century. Among the several Mississippi River system steamboat companies was the noted Anchor Line, which, from 1859 to 1898, operated a luxurious fleet of steamers between St. Louis and New Orleans. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZHS Battery
Control of the river was a strategic objective of both sides in the American Civil War. In 1862 Union forces coming down the river successfully cleared Confederate defenses at Island Number 10 and Memphis, Tennessee, while Naval forces coming upriver from the Gulf of Mexico captured New Orleans, Louisiana. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11EN Battery
The remaining major Confederate stronghold was on the heights overlooking the river at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Union's Vicksburg Campaign (December 1862 to July, 1863), and the fall of Port Hudson, completed control of the lower Mississippi River. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11MN Battery
The Union victory ending the Siege of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 was pivotal to the Union's final victory of the Civil War.
The "Big Freeze" of 1918/19 blocked river traffic north of Memphis, Tennessee, preventing transportation of coal from southern Illinois. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11XN Battery
This resulted in widespread shortages, high prices, and rationing of coal in January and February.In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its banks in 145 places, during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and inundated 27,000 sq mi (70,000 km2) to a depth of up to 30 ft (9.1 m). Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12VN Battery
In 1962 and 1963, industrial accidents spilled 3.5 million gallons of soybean oil into the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. The oil covered the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Lake Pepin, creating an ecological disaster and a demand to control water pollution. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12XN Battery
On October 20, 1976, the automobile ferry, MV George Prince, was struck by a ship traveling upstream as the ferry attempted to cross from Destrehan, Louisiana, to Luling, Louisiana. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died; only eighteen survived the accident. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31VT Battery
In 1988, record low water levels provided an opportunity and obligation to examine the climax of the wooden-hulled age. The Mississippi fell to 10 feet (3.0 m) below zero on the Memphis gauge. Water craft remains were exposed in an area of 4.5 acres (18,000 m2) on the bottom of the Mississippi River at West Memphis, Arkansas. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31XT Battery
They dated to the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Archeological Survey, and the Arkansas Archeological Society responded with a two-month data recovery effort. The fieldwork received national media attention as good news in the middle of a drought. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560 Battery
The Great Flood of 1993 was another significant flood, primarily affecting the Mississippi above its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.Two portions of the Mississippi were designated as American Heritage Rivers in 1997: the lower portion around Louisiana and Tennessee, and the upper portion around Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N24 Battery
In 2002, Slovenian long-distance swimmer Martin Strel swam the entire length of the river, from Minnesota to Louisiana, over the course of 68 days.
In 2005, the Source to Sea Expedition paddled the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers to benefit the Audubon Society's Upper Mississippi River Campaign. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N30 Battery
On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during the evening rush hour.
Extensive flooding in April, May, and June 2011 was compared to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and the Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P Battery
William Faulkner uses the Mississippi River and Delta as the setting for many hunts throughout his novels. It has been proposed that in Faulkner's famous story, The Bear, young Ike first begins his transformation into a man, thus relinquishing his birthright to land in Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P20 Battery
Yoknapatawpha County through his realizations found within the woods surrounding the Mississippi River.
Many of the works of Mark Twain deal with or take place near the Mississippi River. One of his first major works, Life on the Mississippi, is in part a history of the river, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P22 Battery
in part a memoir of Twain's experiences on the river, and a collection of tales that either take place on or are associated with the river. The river was noted for the number of bandits which called its islands and shores home, including John Murrell who was a well-known murderer, horse stealer and slave "re-trader". Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P28 Battery
His notoriety was such that author Twain devoted an entire chapter to him in Life on the Mississippi, and Murrell was rumored to have an island headquarters on the river at Island 37. Twain's most famous work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is largely a journey down the river. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P30 Battery
The novel works as an episodic meditation on American culture with the river having multiple different meanings including independence, escape, freedom, and adventure.Herman Melville's novel The Confidence-Man portrayed a Canterbury Tales-style group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P34 Battery
The novel is written both as cultural satire and a metaphysical treatise. Like Huckleberry Finn, it uses the Mississippi River as a metaphor for the larger aspects of American and human identity that unify the otherwise disparate characters. The river's fluidity is reflected by the often shifting personalities and identities of Melville's "confidence man".Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561 Battery
The song "When the Levee Breaks", made famous in the version performed by Led Zeppelin on the album Led Zeppelin IV, was composed by Memphis Minnie McCoy in 1929 after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Another song about the flood was "Louisiana 1927" by Randy Newman for the album Good Old Boys. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561N20 Battery
Ferde Grofé composed a set of movements for symphony orchestra entitled "Mississippi Suite", based on the lands the river travels through.
The stage and movie musical Show Boat's central musical piece is the spiritual-influenced ballad "Ol' Man River".Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561P20 Battery
Its composer, Jerome Kern, also composed an orchestral piece entitled "Mark Twain Suite".
The musical Big River is based on the travels of Huckleberry Finn down the river.
The Johnny Cash song "Big River" is about the Mississippi River, and about drifting the length of the river to pursue a relationship that fails. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ562P Battery
“Mississippi Queen" by the rock group Mountain makes reference to the river.
"Roll On Mississippi" and "Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town" are two classics from Charley Pride that refer to the Mississippi River. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ563P Battery
In one of his books, DuBose Heyward claims that jazz got its name from a black itinerant musician called Jazbo Brown. Around the turn of the 19th century the semi-legendary Brown is said to have played on boats along the Mississippi River, as suggested in "Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town", performed by Bessie Smith. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAFS Battery
The late Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn collaborated on the song "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" about lovers separated by the mighty river, but are not afraid to swim it, even at the risk of alligator bites, at a one-mile (1.6 km) wide juncture separating the two states, for a rendezvous. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAHS Battery
The Indigo Girls song "Ghost" contains the line: "The Mississippi's mighty, but it starts in Minnesota at a place that you can walk across with five steps down."
Steamboats played a major role in the 19th Century development of the Mississippi River and Sony VAIO VGN-BZAANS Battery
its tributaries by allowing the practical large-scale transport of passengers and freight both up- and down-river. Using steam power, riverboats were developed during that time which could navigate in shallow waters as well as upriver against strong currents. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAPS Battery
After the development of railroads passenger traffic gradually switched to this faster form of transportation, but steamboats continued to serve Mississippi River commerce into the early 20th Century.
The Mississippi is one of the world’s great rivers. Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/Q Battery
It spans 3,860 miles (6,210 km) of length as measured using its northernmost west fork, the Missouri River, which starts in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, joining the Mississippi proper in the state of Missouri. The Ohio River and Tennessee River are other tributaries on its east, and the Arkansas, Platte and Red River of Texas on the west. Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/R Battery
The Mississippi itself starts at Itasca Lake in Minnesota, and the river wends its way through the center of the country, forming part of the boundary of ten states, dividing east and west, and furthering trade and culture.
Steamboats on the Mississippi benefited from technological and political changes. Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/W Battery
The US bought the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. At the time, a semi-bankrupt Napoleon was attempting to extend his hegemony over Europe in what came to be known as the Napoleonic Wars. As a result, the US was then free to expand westward out of the Ohio valley and into the Great Plains and the Southwest. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/P Battery
The success of the Charlotte Dundas in Scotland in 1801 and Robert Fulton'sClermont on the Hudson River in 1807 proved the concept of the steamboat. At this time, walking beam mill engines, of Boulton and Watt variety, were dropped onto wood barges with paddles to create an instant powerboat. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/Q Battery
The overhead engines of "walking beam" type became the standard Atlantic Seaboard paddle engine for the next 80 years. For smaller boats, Watt perfected the side-lever engine with the engine cut down using side bell-cranks to lower the center of gravity. Sidewheel paddlers were the first to enter the scene. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W Battery
In 1811 the steamer New Orleans was built in Pittsburgh by Fulton and Livingstone. Fulton started steamboat service between Natchez and New Orleans.
The War of 1812 caused political upheaval in the south, particularly with the Royal Navy blockade of the US Gulf Coast ports but after the Sony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/R Battery
Treaty of Ghent and resumption of peace, New Orleans was firmly American, after passing through French and Spanish hands. New Orleans became the great port on the mouth of the Mississippi.
The historical roots of the prototypical Mississippi steamboat, Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/P Battery
or Western Rivers steamboat, can be traced to designs by easterners like James Rumsey, John Fitch, John Stevens, Oliver Evans, Robert Fulton and Daniel French.In the span of just six years the evolution of the prototypical Mississippi steamboat would be well underway: Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/Q Battery
The New Orleans, or Orleans, was the first Mississippi steamboat. Launched in 1811 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniafor a company organized by Robert Livingston and Robert Fulton, her designer, she was a large, heavy side-wheeler with a deep draft. Her low-pressure Boulton and Watt steam engine operated a complex power train that was also heavy and inefficient.Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/R Battery