Environment :: History and Important Facts of Mississippi River  

The Mississippi river is the second largest river in the United States of America, next to the Missouri River. This body of water is also considered a watershed. It occupies part of two Canadian provinces. It is dominant in North America. This is also considered the third largest watershed in the whole world.

The name "Mississippi" is derived from "misi-ziibi" to mean great waters. It originated in the Ojibwe language of the olden times.

The Mississippi River stretches from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. Although it is actually 2,340 miles long, it has shortened due to various meanders and engineering projects.

Mississippi river is considered a very young in terms of geological attributes. The falls here are receded upstream because layers of soft sandstones erode away. These sandstones underlie the limestone cap rock.

Thousand of years before, the falls caused Minnesota and Mississippi rivers to join. St. Antony Falls, the only falls in the Mississipi River, carves a gorge to its new location. The gorge below St. Anthony Falls is the only true gorge of Mississippi river. It separates Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Going back through history, it was the European Christopher Columbus who first viewed and explored the river. It has since then brought physical improvement and economic grow to the United States.

In Spain, the Mississippi River is called The River of the Palms in their admiral map of the Royal Library in 1507. The map was engraved, showing the mouth of the Mississippi River. This map brought interest to many discoverers to explore the river. They found it very challenging to cross and explore the river.

Because of this, the river had been a diplomatic exchange for the entire battlefield. Many have even fought in a battlefield just to be able to earn this award. The river is joined by Missouri, north of St. Louis. It receives water from Ohio and Cairo, Illinois. It also touches other river towns like Memphis, Greenville, Vicksburg, Natchez, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. The rivers torrent goes to the Gulf of Mexico.

After Columbus, Hernando DeSoto viewed the river in 1541. He did this somewhere below Memphis, Tennessee. After passing away in 1542, his followers continued his explorations.

Garciliaso de la Vega, one of the explorers of this magnificent river, described Mississippi as a flood of great severity and prolonged duration. He began his expedition on March 10, 1543 and reached the peak in just 40 days. The flooded areas extended to 20 leagues of the river sides.

Mississippi has a lot of great species in it. The watershed itself homes two hundred and forty one kinds of fish. Its flyway also has two hundred and ninety two bird species. Wildlife is present in the bottomlands. The figure amounts to around 57 different mammals, 45 reptiles and amphibians, 40 different mussels and countless invertebrates.

The Mississippi River is very biologically productive. It is considered one of the worlds major river systems with diverse habitat. Aside from this, the river is becoming a popular venue for water skiing also. In fact, the sport of invented here, between the Mississippi River and Wisconsin (Lake Pepin).


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