The Amazing Mississippi River
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What has four eyes but cant see? the Mississippi river! The Mississippi river is a huge river and draws a big crowd of tourist. With many activities and tours why would you not want to go and see the river? The Mississippi river holds lots of great history and is very complicated with dams and locks but more then anything it is a very beautiful! The river and all the nature and animals around it it is a breathtaking sight and worth it to go check out.
The Mississippi river has numerous geographical aspects. The Mississippi river is the largest river system not only in the United States but the largest of North America. The Mississippi River runs through 10 states and was used to define portions of these states borders. The river has shifted, but the state borders of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi have not changed, they still follow the old bed of the Mississippi River. From its origin at Lake Itasca to St. Louis, Missouri, the flow of the Mississippi River is moderated by 43 dams. 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 permit commercial navigation of the upper river. 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 hole carved by the waterfall. The Arkansas River joins the Mississippi in southeastern Arkansas. The Yazoo River meets the Mississippi at Vicksburg. The Atchafalaya River in Louisiana is a major distributary of the Mississippi.
The Mississippi river flows with history. The area of the Mississippi valley was first settled by Native American tribes, such as the Cheyenne, Sioux, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Fox, Kickapoo, Tamaroa, Moingwena, Quapaw and Chickasaw. The Cheyenne, one of the earliest colonists of the upper Mississippi River, called it the Má xe-é ometaae (Big Greasy River) in the Cheyenne language. The word Mississippi comes from Messipi, the French interpretation of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi (Great River). On May 8, 1541, in the area that is now Mississippi Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto became the first European to reach the Mississippi River, which he called Río del Espíritu Santo (“River of the Holy Spirit”). In Spanish, the river is called Río Mississippi. French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, explored the Mississippi in the 17th century.
Marquette traveled with a Sioux named Ne Tongo (“Big river” in Sioux language) in 1673. Marquette proposed calling it the River of the Immaculate Conception. Taking control of the river was an objective for both sides in the American Civil War. In 1862 Union’s 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. The remaining major Confederate stronghold was on the hills overlooking the river at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Union’s Vicksburg Campaign (December 1862 to July, 1863) completed control of the lower Mississippi River. 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 waterways of the Mississippi River are used daily not only for transportation but also for recreation. Steamboats entered trade in the 1820s and this period from 1830-1850 became known as The Golden Age of Steamboats. As there were not a lot of roads or rails in the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, river traffic was a perfect solution. Cotton, timber and food came down the river, as did Appalachia coal. The port of New Orleans boomed because it was the trans-shipment point to deep sea ocean vessels. Steamers worked the entire way from the trickles of Montana, to the Ohio River, down the Missouri and Tennessee to the main channel of the Mississippi. Only the arrival of the railroads in the 1880s did steamboat traffic diminish. Steamboats remained a feature of the river until the 1920s. A few steamers survive as icons such as the Delta Queen and the River Queen. People enjoy a variety of sports on the Mississippi River but the most famous is water skiing. The sport of water skiing was invented on the river between Minnesota and Wisconsin known as Lake Pepin. Ralph Samuelson of Lake City, Minnesota created and practiced his skiing technique in late June and early July 1922. He later performed the first water ski jump in 1925 and was pulled along by a Curtiss flying boat.
The Mississippi river is referenced in popular culture especially in literature and music. The delta and the Mississippi river are the settings in many of William Faulkner’s novels. Mark twain’s first novel Life on the Mississippi tells the story of his adventures on the river. Also his most famous work The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a story about a journey down the river. Many musicals center around the Mississippi river such Show Boats and Big River. Famous rock legends such as Johnny Cash and Led Zeppelin wrote songs about this great river. In conclusion the national center for Mississippi river says “Through history, music, and literature the River helped create America’s soul.”
The Mississippi river is a wonderful place to visit and can really open peoples eyes up to the real beauty on this earth. This being said I would advice anyone to go and enjoy this marvelous river. With all the enjoyable entertainment available at the river it should be a spectacular experience for anyone!
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