State of the US Confederacy. According to acronymmonster, the region was colonized by the French, passed to the British (1763) and then to the Spanish (1781-98). It then returned to the French and was ceded in 1803 to the United States. It was divided into two states, M. and Alabama, and entered the Union (1817). In 1861 the secession was voted there. M. was readmitted to the Union in 1870.
MISSISSIPPI (AT, 121-122). – The largest river in North America and one of the largest in the world. Its name derives from Indian words which seem to mean “father of the waters”. It has its headwaters in a group of lakes in northern Minnesota at about 47 ° lat. N. and flows mainly towards south for the length of 4200 km. until it flows, on the coasts of Louisiana, into the Gulf of Mexico, at 29 ° lat. N.
It seems that Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, on behalf of Francesco de Garay, governor of Jamaica, skirted the lands from Florida and was the first to see, in 1519, the mouth of the Mississippi, which was then given the name of Río del Espiritu Santo. Later, in 1528, another expedition, led by Pánfilo Narváez, headed for the coast of Florida; but it was very unfortunate, because the leader was lost in the sea, most of the members either perished or were taken prisoner by the natives: only four, including Álvaro Núñez Cabeça de Vaca, were saved and after many years, long adventures and unspeakable hardships they arrived, in 1536, in the Gulf of California. During their wanderings they saw and passed the Mississippi. A third expedition, even stronger and better equipped, moved from S. Lucar in 1538: he intended to reach the lands that closed the Gulf of Mexico to north, described as an Eldorado. It was commanded by Hernando de Soto, a man of great courage, who reached the Mississippi, passed it, and died near its banks in 1541 But a small part of his men were able to descend the river and after great events, reach Mexico. Spain, jealous of this discovery, did not want to reveal it to other peoples, so that the river remained unknown to the world for over a century. And it is due to the French if the Mississippi could be discovered again. France in the first half of the seventeenth century had already completed the exploration of the lakes and discovered the sources of the Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, tributaries of the Mississippi. Under the lieutenancy of Count L. of Frontenac, Intendant Talon, who thought that one of the rivers that originated near the great lakes and flowed towards the south, led to the great ocean, commissioned the Jesuit Louis Jolliet, in 1673, to verify whether the Colbert River – as the Mississippi was called – flowed into the Gulf of California. The Jolliet, accompanied by the Jesuit J. Marquette and five other Frenchmen, through Wisconsin, penetrated the Mississippi and advanced to the 33rd parallel, that is, near the confluence of Arkansas.
Then R. de La Salle, who in 1671 and 1679 had reached the great river for Ohio and Illinois, in 1681, through Illinois, re-descended into the main river and followed it to its mouth, recognizing the mouths of Missouri, Ohio and Arkansas. On 9 April 1682, planting a cross on the shore, he took possession of the land in the name of Louis XIV. On the way back, the river rose again; and only in 1687 did he try again by sea to find the mouths of the river he had discovered. And he found them again, but abandoned on the coast of Texas by the captain of the ship that had transported him, he perished (March 19, 1687) murdered by his own, exacerbated by the too many efforts they had been forced to.
Of the Mississippi tributaries, some are much longer than the main river. The largest is Missouri, which originates in the western region of the state of Montana and flows to the east and SE. for 4720 km., joining with the Mississippi 32 km. upstream of St Louis. The total distance between the extreme spring branches of Missouri and the mouth of the Mississippi is approximately 6970 km. Other important western tributaries of Mississippi, downstream from the confluence with Missouri, are Arkansas, which originates in Colorado, and the Red River, which has its sources in the northwestern region of Texas. The main eastern tributary is Ohio, whose furthest tributaries come from the states of New York, North Carolina and Ohio. Although it is shorter than Missouri, Ohio, as it passes through regions of more abundant rainfall,
The total area emitted by the Mississippi and its tributaries is approximately 3,250,000 sq km, equal to 40% of the entire territory of the United States. Consequently, the river has an enormous volume of water, which averages around 18,800 cubic meters. per second at the mouth, a quantity that is greatly exceeded in the rainy season (maximum, 40,000 cubic meters per second).
With the influx of tributaries and the increase in the volume of water, the river gradually widens and in southern Louisiana it reaches a width of over one km. and a half. Wide stretches are also found far upstream, where they are due to local geological conditions. One of these stretches, called Lake Pepin, between the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, is about 40 km long. and 3-4 km wide. and a half.
Upstream of the Ohio junction, the Mississippi and its tributaries generally flow between steep rocky heights, and the course of the river meanders tortuously across a floodplain a few miles wide. The exceptions are the Mississippi trunk upstream of St Paul and the Ohio trunk near Pittsburgh: in these two sections the respective valleys are narrower and the descent faster. Throughout this upper part there are many islands usually covered with wood. Near the city of Cairo the river flows into the coastal plain and begins to flow very slowly, with a slope, with shallow waters, of a few centimeters per kilometer, crossing an alluvial plain 80 km wide on average, in which the banks of the river found slightly above the level of the surrounding countryside. In this part, the course of the river is so meandering that the distances by water are about twice as long as those in a straight line, and in the vicinity of the current course there are numerous semilunar arms that represent abandoned meanders of the river. Sooner or later, each meander tends to become a ring that the river cuts to form a new bed, abandoning the old one, which remains in the form of a semilunar arm.
Mississippi has a huge delta that begins in Louisiana at over 400km. from the mouth, where a branch separates from the main current with the name of Atchafalaya, near the confluence of the Red River. In periods of flood, this branch carries a large amount of water to the Gulf of Mexico with a more brem path. Downstream from New Orleans the river forms a “goose-foot” delta with many mouths which progressively advance into the gulf.
The depth of the river increases with increasing water volume. Ocean-going ships regularly sail up to New Orleans at 160km. from the mouth; and up to Baton Rouge, about 160 km. upstream from New Orleans, the minimum depth is 12 m. Further upstream from this point, navigation is carried out by means of flat-bottomed steams, of low draft and with a single stern wheel, as well as by means of boats. Small vapors can ascend as far as St Paul, about 3000km. from the Gulf of Mexico. On the Missouri, on the other hand, navigation is uncertain due to prolonged lean periods; but some vapor traffic occurred as far as the central region of the state of Montana. On the Ohio River, navigation runs fairly regularly to Pittsburgh, but even there, traffic is sometimes interrupted during lean periods. To facilitate navigation, some locks were built on the Ohio, and one, originally intended for the production of water power, was also built on the Mississippi, in the navigable stretch upstream of St Louis. However, there are few places suitable for the construction of dams for the production of energy. Exceptions are a stretch upstream of St Paul, where the river is quite narrow, and some eastern tributaries, especially Tennessee where it crosses the states of Alabama and Tennessee. In the lower course, where the dam is not practicable, the river bed has been improved by dredging. However, there are few places suitable for the construction of dams for the production of energy. Exceptions are a stretch upstream of St Paul, where the river is quite narrow, and some eastern tributaries, especially Tennessee where it crosses the states of Alabama and Tennessee. In the lower course, where the dam is not practicable, the river bed has been improved by dredging. However, there are few places suitable for the construction of dams for the production of energy. Exceptions are a stretch upstream of St Paul, where the river is quite narrow, and some eastern tributaries, especially Tennessee where it crosses the states of Alabama and Tennessee. In the lower course, where the dam is not practicable, the river bed has been improved by dredging.
It is estimated that Mississippi transports approximately 360 million cubic meters to the Gulf of Mexico each year. of sediments. The greatest contribution is provided by Missouri which, although with a volume of water lower than that of Ohio, flows for long stretches through semi-arid regions and accumulates large quantities of sediments which, in periods of flood, reach about 1% of the water weight. The quantity of sediments has greatly increased in historical times as a consequence of the cultivation of a large part of the territory; hence the soil remains more exposed to erosion. This abundance of sediments in the central areas of the navigable stretch makes the bottom of the river constantly changing, constituting a serious risk for navigation, against which another obstacle is represented by the submerged tree trunks.
Due to the size of the area emitted by the Mississippi, the irregular seasonal distribution of rainfall and the flat shape of the land adjacent to its lower reaches, floods are frequent. The vast alluvial plain was made up of sediments deposited for the most part in prehistoric times. A period of heavy rain along any of the tributaries can produce small floods, and when several large tributaries swell at the same time, the flood covers many thousands of square kilometers, causing great damage to lives and property. Floods generally occur in the spring and last for a month or more. The most disastrous of this century occurred in 1903, 1912, 1913, 1922 and 1927. In these periods,
The first settlers on the banks of lower Mississippi began building levees about 200 years ago to protect their settlements from flooding. With the increase of the population these embankments gradually increased in height and length, until becoming, as they are now, practically continuous from Cairo to New Orleans and going up the course of the major tributaries for many kilometers, representing an expense of many millions of dollars. But this system of levees is not without drawbacks, because, when the river cannot deposit its sediments on a large alluvial plain, it causes the bottom to rise, so that, from time to time, it is necessary to increase the height of the levees with an additional expense. Then, when the embankment breaks, a case that occurs almost in every flood,
In recent years, relief routes have been built near New Orleans to dispose of floodwaters before they cross the city’s levees.
The Mississippi Valley has fertile soil and a rather dense population; there are numerous important cities along the river and its tributaries, and this distribution was originally due to the fact that the localities were easily accessible by water before the construction of the railways. Cities upstream of Cairo are typically located at the confluence of tributaries (eg, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati), or at points of waterfalls or rapids that hindered navigation (Minneapolis, Louisville); instead the cities downstream of Cairo rise mostly on high ground that protect them from flooding (eg, Memphis, Helena, Vicksburg, Natchez, Baton-Rouge). Inland trade is currently less important than in the past, largely due to competition from railways which similarly affected traffic on most other rivers. The most important traffic today is coal, which is loaded into boats from the Pittsburgh district to various cities much further downstream. Second in order of mass, but not of value, is the sand, used for the construction of buildings and roads. Of lesser mass but of greater value are the timber, coming from various points, the cotton, loaded from the southern states, mostly for export, the iron and steel from the Pittsburgh district. Second in order of mass, but not of value, is the sand, used for the construction of buildings and roads. Of lesser mass but of greater value are the timber, coming from various points, the cotton, loaded from the southern states, mostly for export, the iron and steel from the Pittsburgh district. Second in order of mass, but not of value, is the sand, used for the construction of buildings and roads. Of lesser mass but of greater value are the timber, coming from various points, the cotton, loaded from the southern states, mostly for export, the iron and steel from the Pittsburgh district.
Due to the great width of the river and the poor consistency of the soil near the banks, the lower course remained without bridges until relatively recently. Finally, a railway bridge was built in Memphis; contiguous to this one arose in 1915 a second one for railways and vehicles. With the spread of the use of automobiles, the need to improve highways and bridges to save time has greatly increased, and for a few years the Mississippi has been crossed in Vicksburg by a bridge that combines the railway track and the carriage road.. Another bridge is planned to cross the river just upstream from New Orleans in the near future.