The culture of the Mississippi River has an effect on geography and in turn geography impacts the culture along the Mississippi River. The geography of the Mississippi River provided early settlers with the natural resources to survive and thrive. At the same time the aggressive expansion of culture significantly impacted the Mississippi River’s region.
History of settlement along the Mississippi River illustrates the fact that the geography of the river is a natural attraction to settlers. Archeological evidence establishes that Native Americans occupied land and developed civilizations along the Mississippi River as early as 10,000 B.C.E. Records show that inhabitants on the river adapted and evolved utilizing the Mississippi River’s geography. For example, archaic sites between the years 8,500 B.C.E. and 600 B.C.E. indicate that there were different types of settlements that served different functions. Professor Larkin explains that there were local camps which had a living function and extractive locations where archeologist found evidence of hunting functions. In addition, James Crutchfield reports in his book, It Happened on the Mississippi River, that prehistoric American Indians, in 700 B.C.E, constructed a “metropolis along the stream’s eastern bank”, now known as Cahokia. Cahokia’s citizens resided in a “four-thousand-acre-town” and in this town there were over one hundred platforms and burial mounds that range from little mounds to mounds that reach one hundred feet high. Inhabitants made their living off the river by “farming the rich bottom lands…fishing the local streams, and hunting in the surrounding forests.” Rich bottom lands, streams and forests are only a few of the many assets that attracted present and future settlers of the Mississippi River.
Explorers from around the world recognized the strategic advantages and value the river’s geography offered. Spain, England and France struggled for control over the Mississippi River, each knowing that “whoever controlled the river had the advantage.” Spain wanted to control over the river in order to protect Mexico. England aspired to utilize the river’s geography for economic reasons and France had plans to connect Canada with the Mississippi River. Although each countries purpose was different, each country comprehended that the rivers location and length had both economic and military advantage.
For the next fifty-three years, inhabitants along the Mississippi River introduced new culture to the land. Crutchfield maintains that for eighty years the French influence “was in guise of fur trappers, traders, and voyageurs,” until the British took over. In fact, cultural influence was a motivator for the United States to buy “nearly 156,000 acres…located in the vicinity of the [St. Anthony] Falls” in 1805. Inhabitants began to strategically position their businesses along the river. Actually, the site for the magnificent city of New Orleans was...