This beloved river begins at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, and flows about 2,340 miles before releasing its waters into the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it passes through 10 states, providing endless economic and natural resources, recreation, and a boatload of tales.
Number 4 in the World …
The Mississippi River is among the world’s longest rivers:
1. Nile (4,160 miles)
2. Amazon (4,000 miles)
3. Yangtze Rivers (3,964 miles)
4. Mississippi–Missouri Rivers (3,710 miles)
Measuring the length of rivers is a tricky business. River conditions are constantly changing, affected by factors such as flooding, erosion, and more. As a result, measurements differ from time to time. Various sources report the Mississippi River as being from 2,320 to about 2,350 miles long.
One Very Long Name
It’s fun to spell the name of this river quickly, but where did the name originate? It comes from the Ojibwe Native American words mishi for “great” and sibi for “river.”
Very Many Short Names
In story, song, and lore, the Mississippi has been called Ol’ Man River, Old Blue, The Big Muddy, the Father of Waters, and the Gathering of Waters.