True and Amazing Facts About the Mississippi River – Part 2

Once again we board a steamboat and take to the waters of the great Mississippi River. We will unearth great and amazing facts that are connected to this grand old waterway that will make you sit up and take notice of just how awesome the Mississippi actually is.

Eighteen million people each and every day receive their water from the Mississippi as it winds its way through three thousand and eight hundred kilometers. The giant waterway passes through ten states of America that include, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana, Tennessee, Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois, and Kentucky.

An Inspiration for Song

The great American musical impresario Oscar Hammerstein II was inspired to write one of his most famous songs ever by the Mississippi. Ol’ Man River describes the troubles and tribulations of the peoples of the Mississippi in terms of the river struggling with the hardships of keeping going. The song was part of the classical musical Showboat, that relays the history of the African Americans who lived along the banks of the Mississippi. The slow tempo of the song also represents the crawling passage of the water as it progresses laboriously along.

The Place of a Great Disaster

One of the more gruesome facts about the Mississippi is that it was the scene of the worst maritime disaster that has ever happened in the United States. It took place during the American Civil War in 1865 when the lives of one thousand and seven hundred Union Soldiers were tragically lost. They were all packed into a steamship named Sultana when a boiler blew up and the men all went down with the explosion. The saddest part of the story is that the soldiers had just been freed from a Confederate prison and were on their way home.

The Venue of a New Watersport

In 1922 the Mississippi River was the venue for the birth of a new watersport called skiing. It took place at one of the widest parts of the river called Lake Pepin and Ralph Samuelson was the first man to aquaplane on water.

The Center of Commerce

Over the centuries the Mississippi has been the center for commerce for all the places that surround it. Even today barges towing their loads can be regularly spotted taking freight from one place to another. It is estimated that a hundred and seventy-five million tons each year are transported on the waters of the Mississippi.

Not only is the Mississippi a hub for trade, through it twenty nine dams and locks, it is a haven for many who are in pursuit of leisure activities. As well as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, there are birdwatchers, hunters, and swimmers. The majestic river also has a plethora of other places that people can enjoy their leisure time, such as parks, restaurants, sports fields and kids play areas. It is impossible to think of America without this grand old waterway, it has been a part of millions of people’s lives for thousands of years. And hopefully it will just keep on rolling along!