facts about the mississippi river

17 Facts about The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River, found in – guess where – Mississippi, US, has the distinction of being the second-longest river of its kind in North America.  That’s an incredible distinction – and anyone who has ever visited the river will likely tell you they are surprised it is only the second-longest!

However, there’s more to the Mississippi River than just length – as you’ll soon discover, with our fantastic fact file below!

  1. The Mississippi River actually flows more than 2,350 miles along, starting in the central US and ending in the Mexican Gulf.
  2. The Mississippi River is actually one of the longest rivers on a global scale, too. It’s just shorter than the Yangtze, the Amazon and the Nile.  The Nile is, in fact, almost double the length of the Mississippi!
  3. The Mississippi River reaches speeds up around 1.2 mph, meaning that you’re likely to be walking at double its speed.

facts about the Mississippi River

  1. It will generally take two to three months for the Mississippi River to flow from Lake Itasca down to Mexico.
  2. The Mississippi River flows through more than just Mississippi alone. It flows through Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, too!
  3. Believe it or not, there are no more affordable ways for you to travel across the South-eastern states than via the Mississippi River.
  1. As such, it’s an important source of trade, and has been for centuries. What’s more, it is crucial for local drainage across the states mentioned above.
  2. It’s thought that around a quarter of all fish species on the continent can be found living in the Mississippi River.
  3. The Mississippi River’s first bridge was set up in 1855, with a railroad setting up shortly after that.

facts about the Mississippi River

  1. The Mississippi River is not only long, but wide, too. It’s around seven miles wide at its most girthy!
  2. If you’ve read Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’, part of the ‘Tom Sawyer’ series, you will know that the Mississippi River is a pivotal location.
  3. The Mississippi River has changed hands between multiple international forces. It was once French-owned, before acting as a British-Spanish boundary.  It was even passed around during the American Revolution.
  4. Swimmer Martin Strel, famous for swimming rivers to their full lengths, tackled the Mississippi River in 2002. It took him 68 days.  It’s certainly not recommended for health or endurance reasons!
facts about the Mississippi

St Paul, Minnesota

  1. It’s thought that around two-thirds of all birds in North America use the basin at the Mississippi River for migratory purposes.
  2. The river is also hugely important for delivering water to cities and towns, with at least 50 cities benefiting from the river’s water each day.
  3. The Mississippi River is the birthplace of water-skiing! Believe it or not, the first people to try this activity took to the river around a century ago.
  4. The word ‘Mississippi’ itself actually means ‘great river’, derived from Ojibwa – meaning that the name we call the river literally means ‘the great river’s river’!


Do you know any fun facts about the Mississippi River? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on April 28, 2021. Suggest an edit

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