Ohio River - Wikipedia
The Mississippi River is the second longest river of the United States and the chief river of the . In addition to the Ohio River, the major tributaries of the Lower Mississippi River are the White River, flowing in at Post; the Big Black River in Mississippi; and the Yazoo River, meeting the Mississippi at Vicksburg, Mississippi. What a gorgeous view. This area is where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers come together. For that alone, it's worth seeing. Unfortunately, it's a. The Ohio River, which flows westward from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois, is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River in the United.
La Salle claimed the Ohio Valley for France. InGreat Britain established the Ohio Company to settle and trade in the area. Exploration of the territory and trade with the Indians in the region near the Forks brought British colonials from both Pennsylvania and Virginia across the mountains,and both colonies claimed the territory. The movement across the Allegheny Mountains of British settlers and the claims of the area near modern day Pittsburgh led to conflict with the French, who had forts in the Ohio River Valley.
Infollowing the Seven Years' WarFrance ceded the area to Britain, and thus to the settlers in the colonies of Britain. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix opened Kentucky to colonial settlement and established the Ohio River as a southern boundary for American Indian territory. This appeased the Canadien British subjects but angered the Thirteen Colonies. Lord Dunmore's War south of the Ohio river also contributed to giving the land north to Quebec to stop further encroachment of the British colonials on native land.
Built between andthe Wheeling Suspension Bridge was the first bridge across the river and a crucial part of the National Road. The economic connection of the Ohio Country to the East was significantly increased in when the National Road being built westward from Cumberland, Maryland reached Wheeling, Virginia now West Virginiaproviding an easier overland connection from the Potomac River to the Ohio River.
For a brief time, untilit was the world's largest suspension bridge. Fortunately, the bridge was not blown up during the American Civil War. The bridge has been improved in andand remains in use as the oldest vehicular suspension bridge in the U.Cairo, Illinois: Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
Louisville was founded at the only major natural navigational barrier on the river, the Falls of the Ohio. The Falls were a series of rapids where the river dropped 26 feet 7. In this area, the river flowed over hard, fossil-rich beds of limestone. The first locks on the river — the Louisville and Portland Canal — were built to circumnavigate the falls between and Fears that Louisville's transshipment industry would collapse proved ill-founded: Army Corps of Engineers improvements were expanded again in the s, forming the present-day McAlpine Locks and Dam.
After reaching the mouth of the Ohio, settlers would travel north on the Mississippi River to St. There, some continued on up the Missouri Riversome up the Mississippi, and some further west over land routes. In the early 19th century, river pirates such as Samuel Masonoperating out of Cave-In-Rock, Illinoiswaylaid travelers on their way down the river. They killed travelers, stealing their goods and scuttling their boats.
The folktales about Mike Fink recall the keelboats used for commerce in the early days of European settlement. Trading boats and ships traveled south on the Mississippi to New Orleansand sometimes beyond to the Gulf of Mexico and other ports in the Americas and Europe.
This provided a much-needed export route for goods from the west, since the trek east over the Appalachian Mountains was long and arduous.
The Ohio Meets the Mississippi
The need for access to the port of New Orleans by settlers in the Ohio Valley is one of the factors that led to the Louisiana Purchase in Because the river is the southern border of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, it was part of the border between free states and slave states in the years before the American Civil War. The expression "sold down the river" originated as a lament of Upper South slaves, especially from Kentucky, who were shipped via the Ohio and Mississippi to cotton and sugar plantations in the Deep South.
Harriet Beecher Stowe 's Uncle Tom's Cabinthe bestselling novel that fueled abolitionist work, was the best known of the anti-slavery novels that portrayed such escapes across the Ohio. The times have been expressed by 20th-century novelists as well, such as the Nobel Prize -winning Toni Morrisonwhose novel Beloved was adapted as a film of the same name.
She also composed the libretto for the opera Margaret Garnerbased on the life and trial of an enslaved woman who escaped with her family across the river.
The colonial charter for Virginia defined its territory as extending to the north shore of the Ohio, so that the riverbed was "owned" by Virginia. Where the river serves as a boundary between states today, Congress designated the entire river to belong to the states on the east and south, i.
Thus Wheeling Islandthe largest inhabited island in the Ohio River, belongs to West Virginia, although it is closer to the Ohio shore than to the West Virginia shore. The community started out as a trading post in the s and has a large number of attractions that include historical and cultural museums as well as natural features. As the river reaches Scott County the Mississippi Embayment begins.
Both Scott and Mississippi Counties were covered by swamps with cypress trees and virgin bottomland hardwood forest. At the beginning of the 20th century a group of businessmen set out to transform the swamp that was Southeast Missouri in the largest drainage project ever attempted at the time.
The Little River Drainage District, a year project, turned half a million acres of swampy cypress forests into some of the state's most fertile agricultural land.
Area Map of the Mississippi Meets the Ohio River Region
Cotton became a staple crop in the region and its influence on the region is celebrated annually at the Cotton Festival in Sikeston. Most of the land added to the Forest was exhausted farmland and the Civilian Conservation Corps planted pine trees to prevent erosion and help rebuild the soil. However, the Forest is also home to many hardwood trees and other plant and animal species characteristic of the region.
There are a few cities that lie on the riverbank. The city of Cairo is located the confluence of the two rivers and was an important community during the latter half of the 19th century.
Its history can be explored at the Cairo Customs House and several historical homes.
Grand Tower is more atypical as it lies directly on the banks of the river. Grand Tower provides an excellent view of Tower Rock, a landmark rock formation of the Mississippi.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the region is the Shawnee Hill Wine Trail which is a collection of approximately a dozen wineries that are nestled in the heart of the Shawnee Forest. This region of southern Illinois is particularly colorful in the fall and provides many interesting places to enjoy natures beauty. Most of western Kentucky lies on a series of bluffs which provide the sharp eastern boundary of the Mississippi River Valley past the confluence with the Ohio River.
At this point in geological time the Mississippi River runs right up against the Kentucky bluffs rather than through a course through the alluvial plain of the Mississippi Embayment.
Because the confluence of the two rivers doubles the volume of the Mississippi River towns south of Cairo no longer are located on the riverbank but are situated on high bluffs. A good example is the Kentucky town of Columbus which moved from the riverbank to the bluffs after the flood of destroyed the town.
When looking for a new site for town along the bluffs the Red Cross agent came across the remains of the Confederate fortifications of Fort DeRussey which was referred to as the "Gibraltar of the West.