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