William Clark was an American explorer, Indian agent, territorial governor. A native of Virginia, he grew up in prestatehood Kentucky before settling in what became the state of Missouri. Clark was a slaveholder. Along with Meriwether Lewis, Clark helped lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806 across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, claimed the Pacific Northwest for the United States. Before the expedition, he served in the United States Army. Afterward, he served as governor of the Missouri Territory. From 1822 until his death in 1838, he served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. William Clark was born in Caroline County, Virginia, on August 1, 1770, the ninth of ten children of John and Ann Rogers Clark, his parents were natives of King and Queen County, were of English and Scots ancestry. The Clarks owned several modest estates and a few slaves, they were members of the Anglican Church. Clark did not have any formal education. In years, he was self-conscious about his convoluted grammar and inconsistent spelling—he spelled "Sioux" 27 different ways in his journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition—and sought to have his journals corrected before publication.
The spelling of American English was not standardized in Clark's youth, but his vocabulary suggests he was well read. Clark's five older brothers fought in Virginia units during the American Revolutionary War, but William was too young, his oldest brother, Jonathan Clark, served as a colonel during the war, rising to the rank of brigadier general in the Virginia militia years afterward. His second-oldest brother, George Rogers Clark, rose to the rank of general, spending most of the war in Kentucky fighting against British-allied American Indians. After the war, the two oldest Clark brothers made arrangements for their parents and family to relocate to Kentucky. William, his parents, his three sisters, the Clark family's slaves arrived in Kentucky in March 1785, having first traveled overland to Redstone Landing in present-day Brownsville, Pennsylvania, they completed the journey down the Ohio River by flatboat. The Clark family settled at "Mulberry Hill", a plantation along Beargrass Creek near Louisville.
This was William Clark's primary home until 1803. In Kentucky, his older brother George Rogers Clark taught William wilderness survival skills. Kentuckians fought the Northwest Indian War against American Indians, who were trying to preserve their territory north of the Ohio River. In 1789, 19-year-old William Clark joined a volunteer militia force under Major John Hardin. Clark kept a detailed journal of the expedition. Hardin was advancing against the Wea Indians, raiding settlements in Kentucky, on the Wabash River. In error, the undisciplined Kentucky militia attacked a peaceful Shawnee hunting camp, where they killed a total of eight men and children. In 1790, Clark was commissioned by General Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, as a captain in the Clarksville, Indiana militia. One older source says he was sent on a mission to the Creek and Cherokee, whom the US hoped to keep out of the war, in the Southeast, his responsibilities are unclear. He may have visited New Orleans at that time.
His travels prevented him from participating in General Josiah Harmar's disastrous campaign into the Northwest Territory that year. In 1791, Clark served as an ensign and acting lieutenant with expeditions under generals Charles Scott and James Wilkinson, he enlisted in the Legion of the United States and was commissioned as a lieutenant on March 6, 1792 under Anthony Wayne. On September 4, 1792 he was assigned to the 4th Sub-Legion, he was involved in several skirmishes with Indians during the continuing Northwest Indian War. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, Clark commanded a company of riflemen who drove back the enemy on the left flank, killing a number of Native Americans and Canadians; this decisive US victory brought the Northwest Indian War to an end. In 1795, Clark was dispatched on a mission to Missouri. Clark served as an adjutant and quartermaster while in the militia. William Clark resigned his commission on July 4, 1796 and retired due to poor health, although he was only 26 years old.
He returned to his family's plantation near Louisville. In 1803, Meriwether Lewis recruited Clark age 33, to share command of the newly formed Corps of Discovery, whose mission was to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase, establish trade with Native Americans and the sovereignty of the US, they were to find a waterway from the US to the Pacific Ocean and claim the Oregon territory for the United States before European nations did. Clark spent three years on the expedition to the Pacific Coast. A slave owner known to deal harshly with his slaves, he brought one of his slaves, with him; the indigenous nations treated York with respect, many of the Native Americans were interested in his appearance, which "played a key role in diplomatic relations". Although Clark was refused a promotion to the rank of captain when Jefferson asked the Senate to appoint him, at Lewis' insistence, he exercised equal authority, continued the mission. Clark concentrated chiefly on the drawing of maps, the management of the expedition's supplies, leading hunting expeditions for game.
In 1807, President Jefferson appointed Clark as the brigadier general of the militia in the Louisiana Territory, the US agent for Indian affairs. At the time, trade was a major goal and the US established the factory system; the government and its appointees licensed traders to set up trading posts in N
Rupert's Land, or Prince Rupert's Land, was a territory in British North America comprising the Hudson Bay drainage basin, a territory in which a commercial monopoly was operated by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870. The area once known as Rupert's Land is now a part of Canada, but a small portion is now in the United States, it was named after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, a nephew of Charles I and the first Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. In December 1821, the HBC monopoly was extended from Rupert's Land to the Pacific coast. Areas belonging to Rupert's Land were in present-day Canada and included the whole of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Nunavut, northern parts of Ontario and Quebec, it included present-day United States territory, including parts of the states of Minnesota and North Dakota and small parts of Montana and South Dakota. The southern border west of Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains was the drainage divide between the Mississippi and Saskatchewan watersheds until the London Convention of 1818 substituted the 49th Parallel.
When granted the English Royal Charter in 1670 by King Charles II of England, the Hudson’s Bay Company, under the governorship of the king's cousin Prince Rupert of the Rhine, was granted "the sole Trade and Commerce of all those Seas, Bays, Lakes and Sounds, in whatsoever Latitude they shall be, that lie within the entrance of the Streights called Hudson's Streights, together with all the Lands and Territories, upon the Coasts and Confines of the Seas, Bays, Rivers and Sounds, which are not now possessed by any of our Subjects, or by the Subjects of any other Christian Prince or State", "and that the said Land be from henceforth reckoned and reputed as one of our Plantations or Colonies in America, called Rupert's Land". The Royal Charter made the “Governor and Company... and their Successors, the true and absolute Lords and Proprietors, of the same Territory and Places aforesaid, of all other the Premisses ", granted them the authority “to erect and build such Castles, Forts, Colonies or Plantations, Towns or Villages, in any Parts or Places within the Limits and Bounds granted before in these Presents, unto the said Governor and Company, as they in their Discretion shall think fit and requisite".
Following merger with the North West Company in 1821, the Hudson’s Bay Company's monopoly privileges and licence were extended to trade over the North-Western Territory. The Rupert's Land Act 1868 of the United Kingdom Parliament authorized the sale of Rupert's Land to Canada with the understanding that "'Rupert's Land' shall include the whole of the Lands and Territories held or claimed to be held by the" Hudson's Bay Company; the prevailing attitude of the time was that Rupert’s Land was owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company because "From the beginning to the end, the had always claimed up to the parallel 49", argued that the Royal Charter and various Acts of Parliament granted them "all the regions under British dominion watered by streams flowing into Hudson Bay". Rupert's Land had been a private continental estate covering 3.9 million km2 in the heart of North America that stretched from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, from the prairies to the Arctic Circle. Sir John A. Macdonald saw the land as being sold to Canada: "No explanation has been made of the arrangement by which the country is handed over to the Queen, that it is her Majesty who transfers the country to Canada with the same rights to settlers as existed before.
All these poor people know is that Canada has bought the Country from the Hudson's Bay Company, that they are handed over like a flock of sheep to us."However, this did not settle the issue of Aboriginal title over the land. At the time the Royal Charter was granted in 1670, the Crown did not have the authority to give jurisdiction of sovereignty over the territory settled and inhabited by the indigenous people of North America; the Royal Charter ignored the First Nations who were living on the land and exercising sovereignty over it, the Hudson's Bay Company had not acquired title to the land from the Aboriginal communities prior to their negotiations with Canada that began in 1856. Due to the Royal Charter and the Rupert's Land Act 1868, the Crown held the attitude that they possessed the land, that the treaties were a peaceful way to allow for settlement of the Northwest Territories in lands the Crown owned. While the First Nations understood the treaties to be between nations to share the land, the Crown saw them as a way to ensure sovereignty over the land from a people who only had sovereignty as a "personal and usufructuary right, dependent upon the good will of the Sovereign" in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 The Calder v British Columbia case in 1973 was the first case in Canadian law that acknowledged "a declaration that the aboriginal title, otherwise known as the Indian title, of the plaintiffs to their ancient tribal territory hereinbefore described, has never been lawfully extinguished".
This ruling has led to more Aboriginal land claim negotiations, overhauled much of the process of addressing Aboriginal title to land that existed prior to colonization and confederation, whether that
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, lawyer and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801; the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. Jefferson was of English ancestry and educated in colonial Virginia, he graduated from the College of William & Mary and practiced law, with the largest number of his cases concerning land ownership claims. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, served as the 2nd Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War, he became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, subsequently the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793.
Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts; as president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He organized the Louisiana Purchase doubling the country's territory; as a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U. S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.
Jefferson, while a planter and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages, he corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia, considered the most important American book published before 1800. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Although regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy and republicanism in the era of the Enlightenment, Jefferson's historical legacy is mixed; some modern scholarship has been critical of Jefferson's private life, pointing out the contradiction between his ownership of the large numbers of slaves that worked his plantations and his famous declaration that "all men are created equal." Another point of controversy stems from the evidence that after his wife Martha died in 1782, Jefferson fathered children with Martha's half-sister, Sally Hemings, his slave.
Despite this, presidential scholars and historians praise his public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Jefferson continues to rank among U. S. presidents. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia, the third of ten children, he was of English, Welsh and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a surveyor who died when Jefferson was fourteen. Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation's owner and Jefferson's friend, who in his will had named him guardian of his children; the Jeffersons returned to Shadwell in 1752, where Peter died in 1757. Thomas inherited 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, he assumed full authority over his property at age 21. Jefferson began his childhood education beside the Randolph children with tutors at Tuckahoe. Thomas' father, was self-taught, regretting not having a formal education, he entered Thomas into an English school early, at age five.
In 1752, at age nine, he began attending a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and began studying the natural world, for which he grew to love. At this time he began studying Latin and French, while learning to ride horses. Thomas read books from his father's modest library, he was taught from 1758 to 1760 by Reverend James Maury near Gordonsville, where he studied history and the classics while boarding with Maury's family. During this period Jefferson came to know and befriended various American Indians, including the famous Cherokee chief, who stopped at Shadwell to visit, on their way to Williamsburg to trade. During the two years Jefferson was with the Maury family, he traveled to Williamsburg and was a guest of Colonel Dandridge, father of Martha Washington. In Williamsburg the young Jefferson met and came to admire Patrick Henry, eight ye
Commanding General of the United States Army
Prior to the institution of the Chief of Staff of the Army in 1903, there was recognized to be a single senior-most officer in the United States Army though there was not a statutory office as such. During the American Revolutionary War, the title was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. In 1783, the title was simplified to Senior Officer of the United States Army. In 1821, the title was changed to Commanding General of the United States Army; the office was referred to by various other titles, such as "Major General Commanding the Army" or "General-in-Chief." From 1789 until its abolition in 1903, the position of Commanding General was subordinate to the Secretary of War, although this was at times contested. The position was abolished with the creation of the statutory Chief of Staff of the Army in 1903. † denotes people who died in office. United States military seniority Historical Resources Branch. Eicher, John H.. Civil War High Commands. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
Bell, William Gardner. Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff 1775-2005: Portraits and Biographical Sketches. Washington, D. C.: United States Army Center of Military History. King, Archibald. Command of the Army. Military Affairs. Charlottesville, Virginia: The Judge Advocate General's School, U. S. Army
James Wilkinson was an American soldier and statesman, associated with several scandals and controversies. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, but he was twice compelled to resign, he was twice the Senior Officer of the U. S. Army, appointed to be the first Governor of the Louisiana Territory in 1805, commanded two unsuccessful campaigns in the St. Lawrence River theater during the War of 1812, he died. In 1854, following extensive archival research in Madrid, Louisiana historian Charles Gayarré exposed General James Wilkinson as having been a paid spy in the service of the Spanish Empire. In the years since Gayarré's research became public, General James Wilkinson has been savagely condemned by American historians and politicians. According to President Theodore Roosevelt, "n all our history, there is no more despicable character." James Wilkinson was born about three miles northeast of Benedict, Charles County, Maryland, on a farm south of Hunting Creek. His grandfather had been sufficiently wealthy to buy a large property known as Stoakley Manor in Calvert County.
The family felt that, although their property was smaller, they still belonged to a higher social class. According to historian Andro Linklater, James grew up with the idea that "the image of respectability excused the reality of betrayal", his father, Joseph Wilkinson, inherited the property but, by that time, the family was in debt. In 1764, Stoakley Manor was sold, his older brother, inherited the property after his father died and, as the second son, James was left with nothing. Linklater argued that his upbringing led to James' aggressive reaction towards insults of his behavior, his father had left with the last words of "My son, if you put up with an insult, I will disinherit you." Wilkinson received his early education from a private tutor, funded by his grandmother. Wilkinson married Ann Biddle of the prominent Biddle family of Philadelphia on November 12, 1778 in Philadelphia, she was a first cousin of Charles Biddle, an associate of Aaron Burr, Wilkinson's marriage to the dynamic Biddle helped his career as a politician and general.
She died on February 23, 1807. The couple had four sons: John, James Biddle, Joseph Biddle, Walter. James and Walter both served as Captains in the US Army. After Ann's death, James Wilkinson married Celestine Laveau Trudeau, daughter of Charles Laveau Trudeau, on March 5, 1810, with whom he had three children: twin girls Stephanie and Theofannie and a son Theodore, born 1819. Theofannie died as a child in early 1822. Wilkinson first served in Thompson's Pennsylvania rifle battalion, 1775–76, was commissioned a captain in September 1775, he served as an aide to Nathanael Greene during the Siege of Boston, participated in the placing of guns on the Dorchester Heights in March 1776, following the British abandonment of Boston, went with the rest of the Continental Army to New York where he left Greene's staff and was given command of an infantry company. Sent to Canada as part of the reinforcements for Benedict Arnold's army besieging Quebec, he arrived just in time to witness the arrival of 8,000 British reinforcements under General John Burgoyne – which precipitated the collapse of the American effort in Canada.
He became aide to Arnold just prior to the final retreat and left Canada with Arnold on the last boat out. Shortly thereafter, he left Arnold's service and became an aide to General Horatio Gates in August 1776; when Gates sent him to Congress with official dispatches about the victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, Wilkinson kept Congress waiting while he attended to personal affairs. When he showed up, he embellished his own role in the victory, was brevetted as a brigadier general on November 6, 1777, appointed to the newly created Board of War; the promotion over more senior colonels caused an uproar among Continental officers because Wilkinson's gossiping seemed to indicate he was a participant in the Conway Cabal, a conspiracy to replace George Washington with Horatio Gates as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Gates soon had enough of Wilkinson, the young officer was compelled to resign in March 1778. On July 29, 1779, Congress appointed him clothier-general of the Army, but he resigned on March 27, 1781, due to his "lack of aptitude for the job".
After his resignation from the Continental Army, Wilkinson reluctantly became a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia in 1782 and a state assemblyman in 1783, due to the wishes of George Washington. He moved to Kentucky in 1784, he was active there in efforts to achieve independence from Virginia. In April 1787, Wilkinson made a controversial trip to New Orleans, the capital of Spanish colonial Louisiana. At that time, Americans were allowed to trade on the Mississippi River, but they had to pay a hefty tariff. Wilkinson met with Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró and managed to convince him to allow Kentucky to have a trading monopoly on the River. On August 22, 1787, Wilkinson signed an expatriation declaration and swore allegiance to the King of Spain to satisfy his own commercial needs; the "Spanish Conspiracy", as it is known, was initiated by Wilkinson's "First Memorial", a 7,500-word report written before he left New Orleans for Charleston, to the Spanish concerning the "political future of western
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