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Mississippi River Facts

General Knowledge | 7-14 yrs | Interactive, Reading Pod

The Mississippi River is the most musical river, with innumerous songs being composed and sung over it, over the ages.

Which way does the water flow on the Mississippi River?

The Mississippi flows through the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin in United States of America.

Length of the Mississippi River

The river is the fourth longest river with a length of 3,730 km; and flows at an average of one third of human walking speed.

Discovery of the Mississippi River

  • De Soto discovered this river in 1541. In the last Ice Age, the river was formed from melting glaciers.
  • The Ojibwe Indians founded the name Mississippi from “mee-zee-see-bee” meaning father of the waters.
  • River was the primary mode of transportation before roads and airplanes were invented. US President Jefferson had ordered to find a water route from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean; for trading and shipment of goods. This journey was called the Corps of Discovery.

Historic Landmarks in Mississippi

  • The first bridge was built over the Mississippi river in 1855. It started from Rock Island in Iowa and ended in Chicago in Illinois.
  • The Eads Bridge was the first railroad bridge built over the river in 1874 with a length of five hundred feet. It started in St Loius, Missouri. It was the first bridge to use steel in its structure. It was designed to become a trading center between various states.
  • During the US Civil War, for 47 days war was waged over who would gain control over the river. President Abraham Lincoln had said “The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.”

Features and Uses : Mississippi River

  • A watershed is an area which collects all the rainfall and the water from streams and lakes, and pours it into the river. The Mississippi Watershed collects more than half of the rainfall United States receives.
  • Agricultural business flourishes near the river, with ninety two percent of the country’s crops being produced here. Oil, petroleum products, paper, coal, coffee etc are all exported over this river. Sixty six percent of grains like soya beans are exported over this river.
  • Two hundred and forty one species of fish are found in this river which is one fourth the type of fishes found in the continent of North America. Sixty types of mussels are found in this river. Recently a larger variety of catfish has been discovered which is devouring all other fishes.
  • Three hundred and twenty six species of birds migrate over this river regularly.
  • 243 million tones of goods have been exported over the river in 1999, which is the largest port, and is located at LaPlace, Louisiana.
  • Eighteen million are dependant on the river for water. It is the third largest watershed.
  • The Great River Road is the largest network of roads and highways along the river. Beautiful scenic views encompass this 3000 miles road.

People can experience the four seasons across the Upper Mississippi River Valley. They can enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate while watching the snow fall on the river and people fishing; or listening to the robins sing again in Spring while the beautiful wild flowers bloom; or eating ice cream and listening to the various concerts along the river in summer; or watching the trees turn into majestic red and yellow in fall while sipping on apple cider by the river.

10 Interesting Facts about the Mississippi River

  1. Children can walk over this river in Minnesota where the river is not deep.
  2. Water skiing was introduced at the Lake Pepin section of this river.
  3. Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” talks about stories and adventures that took place near the Mississippi river. For the main characters of this story, the river showcases and inspires freedom, adventures and relief from life and slavery.
  4. “So in two seconds away we went a-sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river, and nobody to bother us.” From Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  5. Martin Strel, a Guinness book marathon swimmer, had swum the entire length (3274 miles) of this river. It had taken him sixty six days and at an average of 10 hours each day.
  6. If a droplet of rain fell at the starting point of the river, it would reach the end point, at the Gulf of Mexico, in ninety days.
  7. Poker used to be played on the boats on the river in 1834, and Jonathan H. Green had called it “the cheating game.”
  8. At the intersecting point of north, south, east and west of the river in Memphis is Graceland, the home of famous musician and rock star Elvis Presley. Over six hundred thousand people pay a visit here every year.
  9. The only McDonalds restaurant which floats on a river is on the Mississippi river in Minnesota.
  10. The earthquake in 1811 had altered the course of the river, making it move in the reverse direction.

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