Geography

Facts about Mississippi River

16 Mississippi River facts

The second longest North American river

Mississippi River holds a great importance in the history of the United States of America. Back in the 18th century, it became a natural border between the British and the Spanish Empires, as a result of the Seven Years’ War. Throughout the colonization period, the Mississippi River played a great role in both the expansion and development of various settlements established along its route.

1
It is the second-longest river in North America.
It spans 3,770 kilometers.
2
Along with the Missouri River and Jefferson River, it is regarded as the world’s fourth longest river.
Jefferson River is a tributary of the Missouri River, the longest river in the United States, that flows to the Mississippi River. The Mississippi-Missouri-Jefferson spans 6,275 kilometers.
3
Its name is owed to the Anishinaabe Indigenous people of North America.
They called the river “Misi-ziibi” or Messipi, which translates to “Big River.”
4
It has been first sighted by European explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541.
He called it the “River of the Holy Spirit.” There are some who claim Christopher Columbus was the first European to see the Mississippi River, but it has never been confirmed.
5
It is divided into three sections—the Upper Mississippi, the Middle Mississippi, and the Lower Mississippi.
6
It flows from Lake Itasca in Minnesota and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
7
Its basin covers an area of 3,220,000 square kilometers.
It is the world’s third-largest, outranked by the Amazon River and Congo River basins.
8
It has the largest drainage system in the U.S.
It is the second-largest in North America, with Hudson Bay claiming first place.
9
It either passes through or borders 10 states.
They are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
10
There are 14 lakes on the Mississippi River.
11
The deepest point in the Mississippi River is 61 meters deep.
It is located in New Orleans.
12
At its widest point, the Mississippi River is over 17 kilometers wide.
13
It is home to 360 fish species, 50 mammal species, 326 bird species, and 145 amphibian species.
It is estimated that 25% of North America's fish species live in the Mississippi River.
14
It supplies water for over 18 million people from 50 cities.
15
The course of the river is mirrored by Great River Road.
It is a collection of highways and streets, going through 10 states.
16
The 1927 flooding of the Mississippi River is known as the most destructive in U.S. history.
It is known as the Great Flooding. The flooding area covered over 70,000 square kilometers.

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