Your Honour and Your Honor redirect here. For a list of English honorifics, see Style. For other uses, see Your Honour A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges; the powers, method of appointment and training of judges vary across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open court; the judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the barristers of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a jury. In inquisitorial systems of criminal investigation, a judge might be an examining magistrate; the ultimate task of a judge is to settle a legal dispute in a final and public manner, thus affirm the rule of law. Judges exercise significant governmental power, they can order police, military or judicial officials to execute searches, imprisonments, distrainments, seizures and similar actions.
However, judges supervise that trial procedures are followed, in order to ensure consistency and impartiality and avoid arbitrariness. The powers of a judge are checked by higher courts such as supreme courts. Before the trial, a pre-trial investigation collecting the facts has been conducted by police officials, such as police officers and coroners, prosecutors or public procurators; the court has three main trained court officials: the judge, the prosecutor and the defence attorney. The role of a judge varies between legal systems. In an adversarial system, as in effect in the U. S. and England, the judge functions as an impartial referee ensuring correct procedure, while the prosecution and the defense present their case to a jury selected from common citizens. The main factfinder is the jury, the judge will finalize sentencing. In smaller cases judges can issue summary judgments without proceeding to a jury trial. In an inquisitorial system, as in effect in continental Europe, there is no jury and the main factfinder is the judge, who will do the presiding and sentencing on his own.
As such, the judge is expected to apply the law directly, as in the French expression Le juge est la bouche de la loi. Furthermore, in some system investigation may be conducted by the judge, functioning as an examining magistrate. Judges may work alone in smaller cases, but in criminal and other significant cases, they work in a panel. In some civil law systems, this panel may include lay judges. Unlike professional judges, lay judges are not trained, but unlike jurors, lay judges are volunteers and may be politically appointed. Judges are assisted by law clerks and notaries in legal cases and by bailiffs or similar with security. There are professional judges. A volunteer judge, such as an English magistrate, is not required to have legal training and is unpaid. Whereas, a professional judge is required to be educated. S. this requires a degree of Juris Doctor. Furthermore, significant professional experience is required. S. judges are appointed from experienced attorneys. Judges are appointed by the head of state.
In some U. S. jurisdictions, judges are elected in a political election. Impartiality is considered important for rule of law. Thus, in many jurisdictions judges may be appointed for life, so that they cannot be removed by the executive. However, in non-democratic systems, the appointment of judges may be politicized and they receive instructions on how to judge, may be removed if their conduct doesn't please the political leadership. Judges must be able to research and process extensive lengths of documents and other case material, understand complex cases and possess a thorough understanding of the law and legal procedure, which requires excellent skills in logical reasoning and decision-making. Excellent writing skills are a necessity, given the finality and authority of the documents written. Judges work with people all the time. Judges are required to have good moral character, i.e. there must be no history of crime. Professional judges enjoy a high salary, in the U. S. the median salary of judges is $101,690 per annum, federal judges earn $208,000–$267,000 per annum.
A variety of traditions have become associated with the occupation. Gavels are used by judges in many countries, to the point that the gavel has become a symbol of a judge. In many parts of the world, judges sit on an elevated platform during trials. American judges wear black robes. American judges have ceremonial gavels, although American judges have court deputies or bailiffs and contempt of court power as their main devices to maintain decorum in the courtroom. However, in some of the Western United States, like California, judges did not always wear robes and instead wore everyday clothing. Today, some members of state supreme courts, such as the Maryland Court of Appeals wear distinct dress. In Italy and Portugal, both judges and lawyers wear particular black robes. In some countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, judges wear wigs; the long wig associated with judges is now reserved for ceremonial occasions, although it was par
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
Calcasieu Parish is a parish located on the southwestern border of the U. S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 192,768; the parish seat is Lake Charles. Calcasieu Parish is part of the Lake Charles, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 194,138, it is located near the Beaumont–Port Arthur and Alexandria metropolitan areas. Calcasieu Parish was created March 24, 1840, from the parish of Saint Landry, one of the original nineteen civil parishes established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1807 after the United States acquired the territory in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803; the original parish seat was Comasaque Bluff, a settlement east of the river and called Marsh Bayou Bluff. On December 8, 1840, it was renamed as Louisiana. In 1852 Jacob Ryan, a local planter and businessman, donated land and offered to move the courthouse in order to have the parish seat moved to Lake Charles; as the population in this area grew over the years, the original Calcasieu Parish has since been divided into five smaller parishes.
The original area of Calcasieu Parish is called Imperial Calcasieu. The name Calcasieu comes from the Atakapa word, spelled quelqueshue in a French transliteration, meaning "crying eagle." This was the name of an Atakapa chief, which French colonists applied to the local river, the Calcasieu River. When the Spanish controlled this area, they referred to this river as the Rio Hondo River; the Americans adopted an English transliteration of the French name for the parish. The early history of the parish dates to the period of the Spanish occupation of Louisiana, after France had ceded this territory following its defeat by Great Britain in the Seven Years' War. In 1797, Jose M. Mora was granted a large tract of land between the Rio Hondo and the Sabine River, known for years as the "Neutral Strip" between Louisiana and Texas; the area became a refuge for outlaws and filibusters from Carolina and Mississippi of the United States, which had gained independence from Great Britain. The territory was disputed for years between Spain and the United States after France had ceded Louisiana to the American government as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
It was definitively acquired by the United States from Spain with the Adams-Onis Treaty in 1819. The treaty was formally ratified on February 22, 1821. By an act of Congress, approved on March 3, 1823, this strip of land was attached to the district of the Louisiana Territory south of the Red River. Early settlers to the area included the Ryan, Perkin, LeBleu and Henderson families. Acadian settlers, from the eastern parishes of Louisiana migrated to this area. Of French descent and exiled by the British from Acadia, many of these refugees had settled in Louisiana; the parish had a diverse ethnic mix of French and Spanish Creoles, Anglo-Americans, enslaved African Americans, Indians. When "Imperial Calcasieu Parish" was created in 1840 from the Parish of Saint Landry, it comprised a large area. With the growth of population in the area, this was subsequently divided into five parishes. On August 24, 1840, six men met to organize as representatives for six wards that became five parishes; the meeting was held in the house of Arsene LeBleu near present-day Chloe.
The first police jury men were David Simmons, Alexander Hébert, Michel Pithon, Henry Moss, Rees Perkins, Thomas M. Williams, their first order of business was to elect officers, appoint a parish clerk, settle on simple parliamentary rules that would enable the president to keep the meetings orderly and progressive. The jury adopted all of the laws in force in Saint Landry Parish, they appointed a parish constable, a parish treasurer, two parish assessors, an operator of the ferry at Buchanan's crossing. The assessors were given two months to assess all of the property in the parish and a salary of $90. On September 14, 1840, a survey was authorized of land known as Marsh Bayou Bluff in order to establish a seat of justice and construct a courthouse and jail. On December 8, 1840 the jury chose to rename this community as Marion. In 1843, the Legislature authorized a vote to move the parish seat. In 1852, Jacob Ryan was successful in having the parish seat relocated from Marion to the east bank of Lake Charles.
This parish seat was incorporated in 1857 as the town of Charleston. It is located about six miles from Marion, now known as Old Town; the name Lake Charles commemorates one of the first European settlers, Charles Sallier, a Frenchman who acquired land in this area at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1870 Cameron Parish was taken from the south portion of Imperial Calcasieu, it was one of several parishes organized during the Reconstruction era by the Republican-dominated legislature, in an effort to build Republican strength. Because areas had been developed as cotton plantations, Calcasieu Parish had numerous African-American slaves. After emancipation, most of the freedmen joined the Republican Party, but the area set aside for Cameron Parish had a majority-white population. In the late 1870s, white Democrats regained control of the state legislature through fraud and intimidation. At the turn of the century, they disenfranchised most blacks in the state by creating barriers to voter registration passed racial segregation and other Jim Crow laws.
In 1912 Calcasieu Parish still comprised an area of more than 3,600 square miles, was the largest parish in the state by geography. For this reason it is sometimes called "Imperial Calcasieu". In 1912, the three parishes of Allen and Jefferson Davis, wit
Louisiana (New Spain)
Louisiana was the name of an administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1763 to 1801 that consisted of territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans. Spain acquired the territory from France, which had named it La Louisiane in honor of King Louis XIV in 1682, it is sometimes known as Spanish Louisiana. The district was retroceded to France, under the terms of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso and the Treaty of Aranjuez. In 1802, King Charles IV of Spain published a royal bill on 14 October, effecting the transfer and outlining the conditions. However, Spain agreed to continue administering the colony until French officials arrived and formalized the transfer; the ceremony was conducted at the Cabildo in New Orleans on 30 November 1803, just three weeks before the formalities of cession from France to the United States pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase. Spain was a benign absentee landlord administering it from Havana and contracting out governing to people from many nationalities as long as they swore allegiance to Spain.
During the American War of Independence, the Spanish funneled their supplies to the American revolutionists through New Orleans and the vast Louisiana territory beyond. In keeping with being absentee landlords, Spanish efforts to turn Louisiana into a Spanish colony were fruitless. For instance, while Spanish was the only language of government, the majority of the populace continued to speak French. Official business conducted at the Cabildo lapsed into French, requiring a translator on hand; when Alejandro O'Reilly re-established Spanish rule in 1769, he issued a decree on December 7, 1769, which banned the trade of Native American slaves. Although there was no movement toward abolition of the African slave trade, Spanish rule introduced a new law called coartación, which allowed slaves to buy their freedom, that of others. A group of maroons led by Jean Saint Malo resisted re-enslavement from their base in the swamps east of New Orleans between 1780 and 1784. On May 4, 1795, 57 slaves and 3 local white men were put on trial in Point Coupee.
At the end of the trial 23 slaves were hanged, 31 slaves received a sentence of flogging and hard labor, the three white men were deported, with two being sentenced to six years forced labor in Havana. Spanish colonial officials divided Luisiana into Upper Louisiana and Lower Louisiana at 36° 35' North, at about the latitude of New Madrid; this was a higher latitude than during the French administration, for whom Lower Louisiana was the area south of about 31° North or the area south of where the Arkansas River joined the Mississippi River at about 33° 46' North latitude. In 1764, French fur trading interests founded St. Louis in what was known as the Illinois Country; the Spanish referred to St. Louis as "the city of Illinois" and governed the region from St. Louis as the "District of Illinois". To establish Spanish colonies in Louisiana, the Spanish military leader Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Louisiana at the time, recruited groups of Spanish-speaking Canary Islanders to emigrate to North America.
In 1778, several ships embarked for Louisiana with hundreds of settlers. The ships made stops in Venezuela, where half the settlers disembarked. In the end, between 2,100 and 2,736 Canarians settled near New Orleans, they settled in what is today St. Bernard Parish. However, many settlers were relocated for various reasons. Barataria suffered hurricanes in 1779 and in 1780. In 1782, a splinter group of the Canarian settlers in Saint Bernard emigrated to Valenzuela. In 1779, another ship with 500 people from Málaga; these colonists, led by Lt. Col. Francisco Bouligny, settled in New Iberia, where they intermarried with Cajun settlers. In 1782, during the American Revolutionary War and the Anglo-Spanish War, Bernardo de Gálvez recruited men from the Canarian settlements of Louisiana and Galveston to join his forces, they participated in three major military campaigns: the Baton Rouge, the Mobile, the Pensacola, which expelled the British from the Gulf Coast. In 1790 settlers of mixed Canarian and Mexican origin from Galveston settled in Galveztown, Louisiana, to escape the annual flash floods and prolonged droughts of this area.
Beginning in the 1790s, following the slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue that began in 1791, waves of refugees came to Louisiana. Over the next decade, thousands of migrants from the island landed there, including ethnic Europeans, free people of color, African slaves, some of the latter brought in by the white elites, they increased the French-speaking population in New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as the number of Africans, the slaves reinforced African culture in the city. The French established settlements in French Louisiana beginning in the 17th century; the French began exploring the region from French Canada. 1762 – As negotiations began to end the Seven Years' War, Louis XV of France secretly proposed to his cousin Charles III of Spain that France give Louisiana to Spain in the Treaty of Fontainebleau. 1763 – The Treaty of Paris ended the war, with a provision in which France ceded all territory east of the Mississippi to Britain. Spain ceded land east of the Mississippi to Britain.
1763 – George III of the United Kingdom, in the Royal P
2010 United States Census
The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010; the census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired; the population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000; as required by the United States Constitution, the U. S. census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2000 U. S. Census was the previous census completed. Participation in the U. S. Census is required by law in Title 13 of the United States Code. On January 25, 2010, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves inaugurated the 2010 Census enumeration by counting World War II veteran Clifton Jackson, a resident of Noorvik, Alaska.
More than 120 million census forms were delivered by the U. S. Post Office beginning March 15, 2010; the number of forms mailed out or hand-delivered by the Census Bureau was 134 million on April 1, 2010. Although the questionnaire used April 1, 2010 as the reference date as to where a person was living, an insert dated March 15, 2010 included the following printed in bold type: "Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today." The 2010 Census national mail participation rate was 74%. From April through July 2010, census takers visited households that did not return a form, an operation called "non-response follow-up". In December 2010, the U. S. Census Bureau delivered population information to the U. S. President for apportionment, in March 2011, complete redistricting data was delivered to states. Identifiable information will be available in 2082; the Census Bureau did not use a long form for the 2010 Census. In several previous censuses, one in six households received this long form, which asked for detailed social and economic information.
The 2010 Census used only a short form asking ten basic questions: How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? Mark all that apply: Is this house, apartment, or mobile home – What is your telephone number? What is Person 1's name? What is Person 1's sex? What is Person 1's age and Person 1's date of birth? Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? What is Person 1's race? Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? The form included space to repeat all of these questions for up to twelve residents total. In contrast to the 2000 census, an Internet response option was not offered, nor was the form available for download. Detailed socioeconomic information collected during past censuses will continue to be collected through the American Community Survey; the survey provides data about communities in the United States on a 1-year or 3-year cycle, depending on the size of the community, rather than once every 10 years.
A small percentage of the population on a rotating basis will receive the survey each year, no household will receive it more than once every five years. In June 2009, the U. S. Census Bureau announced. However, the final form did not contain a separate "same-sex married couple" option; when noting the relationship between household members, same-sex couples who are married could mark their spouses as being "Husband or wife", the same response given by opposite-sex married couples. An "unmarried partner" option was available for couples; the 2010 census cost $13 billion $42 per capita. Operational costs were $5.4 billion under the $7 billion budget. In December 2010 the Government Accountability Office noted that the cost of conducting the census has doubled each decade since 1970. In a detailed 2004 report to Congress, the GAO called on the Census Bureau to address cost and design issues, at that time, had estimated the 2010 Census cost to be $11 billion. In August 2010, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that the census operational costs came in under budget.
Locke credited the management practices of Census Bureau director Robert Groves, citing in particular the decision to buy additional advertising in locations where responses lagged, which improved the overall response rate. The agency has begun to rely more on questioning neighbors or other reliable third parties when a person could not be reached at home, which reduced the cost of follow-up visits. Census data for about 22% of U. S. househol
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most in criminal law enforcement. The office of constable can vary in different jurisdictions. A constable is the rank of an officer within the police. Other people may be granted powers of a constable without holding this title; the title comes from the Latin comes stabuli and originated from the Roman Empire. The title was imported to the monarchies of medieval Europe, in many countries developed into a high military rank and great officer of State. Most constables in modern jurisdictions are law enforcement officers. However, in the Channel Islands a constable is an elected office-holder at the parish level. A constable could refer to a castellan, the officer charged with the defense of a castle. Today, there is a Constable of the Tower of London. An equivalent position is that of Marshal, which derives from Old High German marah "horse" and schalh "servant", meant "stable keeper", which has a similar etymology. In Australia, as in the United Kingdom, constable is the lowest rank in most police services.
It is categorised into the following from lowest to highest: probationary constable, constable first class, senior constable, leading senior constable. These variations depend on the individual state/territory police force in question. Senior constable refers to a police officer of the rank above constable and is denoted by way of two chevrons/stripes; the New South Wales Police Force has three grades of senior constable, namely senior constable, incremental senior constable and leading senior constable. A senior constable is senior to a constable but junior to an incremental senior constable. Promotion to senior constable can occur after a minimum of five years service, one year as a probationary constable in addition to four years as constable and upon passing probity checks and an exam. Incremental senior constable is attained after ten years of service automatically. One is appointed the rank of leading senior constable on a qualification basis but must have a minimum of seven years service amongst other criteria in order to be eligible.
Leading senior constable is a specialist position of which there are limited allocated numbers within any section/unit or local area command. If an officer is transferred to another duty type or station, the officer is relieved of the position of leading senior constable, it is a position for field training officers who oversee the training and development of inexperienced probationary constables or constables. Within Victoria Police, a senior constable is the rank above a constable while above a senior constable is a leading senior constable; when first introduced into Victoria Police, the leading senior constable was a classification not a rank, somewhat like "detective". Leading senior constables were appointed to assist in the training and mentoring of more junior members; the last round of wage negotiations however saw leading senior constable become a rank in its own right, one that a lot of members will pass on their way from constable to sergeant though it is not necessary and is permissible to be promoted to sergeant direct from senior constable.
The general form of address for both senior constable and leading senior constable is "senior" and this is acceptable in courts. In Canada, as in the United Kingdom, constable is the lowest rank with most law enforcement services, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In Newfoundland the provincial police are the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary whereby all officers are addressed by the term "constable". In addition, the chief officers of some municipal police services in Canada, notably Vancouver Police Department, carry the title of chief constableIn Canadian French, constable is translated to agent, except in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police where it is translated as gendarme.) Appointments can further be separated into: Special constables RCMP special constables are appointed for specific skills, for example, aboriginal language skills. They are peace officers under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. Outside of the RCMP, special constables are not police officers but are appointed to serve certain law enforcement functions.
For example, SPCA agents or court/jail security officers. Auxiliary constables, or reserve constables, are volunteers with a policing agency, they only have peace officer status when engaged in specific authorized tasks only. Provincial civil constables deal with matters of a civil nature. In the Danish armed forces the ranks "Konstabel", "Overkonstabel" and "Overkonstabel af 1. Grad" are used for professional enlisted soldiers and airmen; the rank is more or less equal to a Private, Private 1st class and Lance corporal but higher than the rank "menig" which translates into "private" and only applies to drafted soldiers. In the Finnish Police, the lowest rank of police
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard was an American military officer, the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Today, he is referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he used his first name as an adult, he signed correspondence as G. T. Beauregard. Trained as a civil engineer at the United States Military Academy, Beauregard served with distinction as an engineer in the Mexican–American War. Following a brief appointment as superintendent at West Point in 1861, after the South seceded he resigned from the United States Army and became the first brigadier general in the Confederate States Army, he commanded the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, at the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Three months he won the First Battle of Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. Beauregard commanded armies in the Western Theater, including at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, the Siege of Corinth in northern Mississippi, he returned to Charleston and defended it in 1863 from repeated naval and land attacks by Union forces.
His greatest achievement was saving the important industrial city of Petersburg, Virginia, in June 1864, thus the nearby Confederate capital of Richmond, from assaults by overwhelmingly superior Union Army forces. His influence over Confederate strategy was lessened by his poor professional relationships with President Jefferson Davis and other senior generals and officials. In April 1865, Beauregard and his commander, General Joseph E. Johnston, convinced Davis and the remaining cabinet members that the war needed to end. Johnston surrendered most of the remaining armies of the Confederacy, including Beauregard and his men, to Major General William Tecumseh Sherman. Following his military career, Beauregard returned to Louisiana, where he advocated for black civil rights and black suffrage, served as a railroad executive, became wealthy as a promoter of the Louisiana Lottery. Beauregard was born at the "Contreras" sugar-cane plantation in St. Bernard Parish, about 20 miles outside New Orleans, to a French Creole family.
Beauregard was the third child of Hélène Judith de Reggio, of mixed French and Italian ancestry and descendant of Francesco M. de Reggio, member of an Italian noble family whose family had migrated first to France and to Louisiana, her husband, Jacques Toutant-Beauregard, of French and Welsh ancestry. He had three sisters, his family was Roman Catholic. As a child, Beauregard befriended and played with slave boys his own age, was weaned as a baby by a Dominican slave woman, he grew up in a large one-story house, unlike the "later plantation palaces, but a mansion of aristocracy by the standards of its time." Beauregard would hunt and ride in the woods and fields around his family's plantation and paddled his boat in its waterways. Beauregard attended New Orleans private schools and went to a "French school" in New York City. During his four years in New York, beginning at age 12, he learned to speak English, as French had been his first and only language in Louisiana, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
One of his instructors was Robert Anderson, who became the commander of Fort Sumter and surrendered to Beauregard at the start of the Civil War. Upon enrolling at West Point, Beauregard dropped the hyphen from his surname and treated Toutant as a middle name, to fit in with his classmates. From that point on, he used his first name, preferring "G. T. Beauregard." He excelled both as an artilleryman and military engineer. His Army friends gave him many nicknames: "Little Creole", "Bory", "Little Frenchman", "Felix", "Little Napoleon". During the Mexican–American War, Beauregard served as an engineer under General Winfield Scott, he was appointed brevet captain for the battles of Contreras and Churubusco and major for Chapultepec, where he was wounded in the shoulder and thigh. He was noted for his eloquent performance in a meeting with Scott in which he convinced the assembled general officers to change their plan for attacking the fortress of Chapultepec, he was one of the first officers to enter Mexico City.
Beauregard considered his contributions in dangerous reconnaissance missions and devising strategy for his superiors to be more significant than those of his engineer colleague, Captain Robert E. Lee, so he was disappointed when Lee and other officers received more brevets than he did. Beauregard returned from Mexico in 1848. For the next 12 years, he was in charge of what the Engineer Department called "the Mississippi and Lake defenses in Louisiana." Much of his engineering work was done elsewhere, repairing old forts and building new ones on the Florida coast and in Mobile, Alabama. He improved the defenses of Forts St. Philip and Jackson on the Mississippi River below New Orleans, he worked on a board of Army and Navy engineers to improve the navigation of the shipping channels at the mouth of the Mississippi. He created and patented an invention he called a "self-acting bar excavator" to be used by ships in crossing bars of sand and clay. While serving in the Army, he campaigned for the election of Franklin Pierce, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1852, a former general in the Mexican War, impressed by Beauregard's performance at Mexico City.
Pierce appointed Beauregard as superintending engineer of the U. S. Custom House in New Orleans, a huge granite building, built in 1848; as it was sinking unevenly in the moist soil of Louisiana, Beauregard had to develop a renovation program. He stabilized the structure successfully. During his service in New Orleans, Beauregard becam
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows south for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U. S. two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is within the United States; the Mississippi ranks as the fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. Native Americans have lived along its tributaries for thousands of years. Most were hunter-gatherers, but some, such as the Mound Builders, formed prolific agricultural societies; the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century changed the native way of life as first explorers settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers.
The river served first as a barrier, forming borders for New Spain, New France, the early United States, as a vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of the ideology of manifest destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States. Formed from thick layers of the river's silt deposits, the Mississippi embayment is one of the most fertile regions of the United States. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory, due to the river's strategic importance to the Confederate war effort; because of substantial growth of cities and the larger ships and barges that replaced steamboats, the first decades of the 20th century saw the construction of massive engineering works such as levees and dams built in combination. A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans.
Since the 20th century, the Mississippi River has experienced major pollution and environmental problems – most notably elevated nutrient and chemical levels from agricultural runoff, the primary contributor to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. The word Mississippi itself comes from Misi zipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe name for the river, Misi-ziibi. In the 18th century, the river was the primary western boundary of the young United States, since the country's expansion westward, the Mississippi River has been considered a convenient if approximate dividing line between the Eastern and Midwestern United States, the Western United States; this is exemplified by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the phrase "Trans-Mississippi" as used in the name of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, it is common to qualify a regionally superlative landmark in relation to it, such as "the highest peak east of the Mississippi" or "the oldest city west of the Mississippi". The FCC uses it as the dividing line for broadcast call-signs, which begin with W to the east and K to the west, mixing together in media markets along the river.
The Mississippi River can be divided into three sections: the Upper Mississippi, the river from its headwaters to the confluence with the Missouri River. The Upper Mississippi runs from its headwaters to its confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri, it is divided into two sections: The headwaters, 493 miles from the source to Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The source of the Upper Mississippi branch is traditionally accepted as Lake Itasca, 1,475 feet above sea level in Itasca State Park in Clearwater County, Minnesota; the name "Itasca" was chosen to designate the "true head" of the Mississippi River as a combination of the last four letters of the Latin word for truth and the first two letters of the Latin word for head. However, the lake is in turn fed by a number of smaller streams. From its origin at Lake Itasca to St. Louis, the waterway's flow is moderated by 43 dams. Fourteen of these dams are located above Minneapolis in the headwaters region and serve multiple purposes, including power generation and recreation.
The remaining 29 dams, beginning in downtown Minneapolis, all contain locks and were constructed to improve commercial navigation of the upper river. Taken as a whole, these 43 dams shape the geography and influence the ecology of the upper river. Beginning just below Saint Paul and continuing throughout the upper and lower river, the Mississippi is further controlled by thousands of wing dikes that moderate the river's flow in order to maintain an open navigation channel and prevent the river from eroding its banks; the head of navigation on the Mississippi is the Coon Rapids Dam in Minnesota. Before it was built in 1913, steamboats could go upstream as far as Saint Cloud, depending on river conditions; the uppermost lock and dam on the Upper Mississippi River is the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock an