The name "Mississippi" comes from a Native American name that means "big river."
The source of the Mississippi is in the state of Minnesota, near the border with Canada. The Mississippi flows south through the middle of the United States. It flows past the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
At the end of the Mississippi there is a zone in the Gulf of Mexico where very few animals can survive comfortably because of the fertilizer and other chemicals that run off of farms into the river and its tributaries, which then dump them into the gulf.
The Mississippi has been extremely important for transportation in the history of the United States. In the 1800s, many steamboats traveled on the Mississippi River. St. Louis, Missouri, Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans were important port cities.
The Mississippi has many large tributaries, or rivers that flow into it. The watershed of the Mississippi covers much of the United States. This means that the Mississippi and its tributaries drain much of the United States.
Some important tributaries of the Mississippi are (listed from the source to the mouth of the river):
- the Minnesota River
- the St. Croix River
- the Wisconsin River
- the Illinois River
- the Missouri River
- the Ohio River
- the Arkansas River
The Mississippi River in books[change]
A big part of the book Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is set on the Mississippi River. Twain also wrote a book called Life on the Mississippi, which had some stories about how he used to work on a steamboat.