The Mississippi River: Facts and Information

Mississippi River Fact File

Country: United States

Length: 2320 miles (3734 km)

Source: Lake Itasca, Clearwater County, Minnesota

Mouth: Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana.

Other Facts About the Mississippi River

  • The Mississippi River’s drainage basin (the area from which it collects water) covers parts of 31 US states and 2 provinces of Canada.
  • It’s the fourth longest river in the world.
  • In the sixteenth century, the Mississippi formed the border between New Spain and New France.
  • The Mississippi flows through or directly borders these states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • The Mississippi River is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle and Lower.
  • The Upper Mississippi flows through the state of Minnesota. Over 40 dams control the flow of the Upper Mississippi, and many of these dams include locks in order to help ships and boats navigate it.
  • The Middle Mississippi starts at the confluence (meeting) of the Mississippi and the Missouri River at St Louis, Missouri, and comes to an end at the Mississippi’s confluence with the Ohio River in Illinois.
  • The Lower Mississippi River has several tributaries, such as: The White River, the Arkansas River, the Big Black River and the Red River.
  • At several points the width of the Lower Mississippi River is greater than 1 mile.
  • For such a large river, the Mississippi has a relatively low flow. The Amazon River, for example, moves nearly 10 times as much water.
  • More than 170 bridges (foot and railroad) span the Mississippi River on its journey from source to mouth.
  • Both sides in the American Civil War wanted to control the Mississippi River as it offered many strategic benefits.
  • Apparently, the sport of water-skiing was devised on the Mississippi on a stretch called Lake Pepin in the 1920s.

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