True and Amazing Facts About the Mississippi River – Part 1

The Mississippi River is one of the most famous waterways in the world and it forms one of the most iconic features of the whole of the North American continent. It has become a focal point of the culture of the places it flows through and has been the inspiration for songs, literature, environmental awareness, commerce and agriculture.

Many of the most memorable moments in American history have happened on the Mississippi, and it still rolls on as it has for thousands of years. To celebrate this grand river we have collated some amazing facts that many people are not aware that are connected with the Mississippi River.

The Mississippi Name

The name Mississippi was given to this stately old river by its former indigenous peoples, the Anishinaabe. This group from the US and Canada consisted of the tribes Oji-Cree, Potawatomi, Algonquin, and the Odawa Ojibwe. And the word Misi-ziibi means Gathering of Water or Great River.

Size is Everything

Concerning size and dimensions the Mississippi River is indeed grand, it is one of the planet’s largest river systems which includes a diversity of plant and animal life that is quite staggering. Living in and around this great river are over three hundred species of birds, one hundred and fifty different amphibians, three hundred and fifty species of fish, and over fifty types of mammals.  When the river finally empties into the Gulf of Mexico it formulates the second biggest watershed in the entire world. And for a drop of water to travel the entire length of the river it would take ninety days.

Swim the Mississippi

The river makes its way through one hundred and ten counties from start to finish and has only every been conquered by one swimmer. And it was not even an American, a Slovenian swimmer named Martin Strel spent sixty-eight days swimming the entire two thousand, eight hundred and eighty-five miles and has been the only swimmer to have completed this impressive feat.

The History

The Mississippi River has a really strong historic significance as far as the United States are concerned. It has been central to many significant events in the country’s history including the American Civil War, and the Great Mississippi Flood.

A Literary Inspiration

Of course if anybody is familiar with the works of one of America’s greatest authors, it is easy to see how the Mississippi was the inspiration for Mark Twain to write the legendary stories about the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Many of the places along the river in the book were real, and Twain captured the lives of the everyday people that lived along the river.

Another quite unknown but true fact, is that Mark Twain had been an actual pilot of a Mississippi steamboat. This is why his descriptions of life on the river are so accurate and detailed. In part two of our great Mississippi fact finding mission we unearth even more incredible truths about one of the greatest rivers in the world.