Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the west coast of Sri Lanka and the southeastern tip of India, in the Coromandel Coast region; the chain of low islands and reefs known as Ramsethu called Adam's Bridge, which includes Mannar Island, separates the Gulf of Mannar from Palk Bay, which lies to the north between Sri Lanka and India. The Malvathu Oya of Sri Lanka and the estuaries of Thamirabarani River and Vaipar River of South India drain into the Gulf; the dugong is found here. Located on the southeastern tip of the subcontinent, the Gulf of Mannar is known to harbour over 3,600 species of flora and fauna, making it one of the richest coastal regions in Asia. 117 hard coral species have been recorded in the Gulf of Mannar. Sea turtles are frequent visitors to the gulf as are sharks and dolphins. However, the combined effects of 47 villages, with a total population of around 50,000 has meant that overharvesting of marine species has become a problem.
The decline of fish populations has been accompanied with reducing numbers of pearl oyster, gorgonian coral, acorn worm. Local fishermen rely on the reef to feed their families, but destructive fishing methods combined with the stress of pollution and coral mining have meant both nearshore and offshore catches have decreased. Endangered species include dolphins, dugongs and sea cucumbers. In 1986, a group of 21 islets lying off the Tamil Nadu coast between Thoothukudi and Dhanushkodi was declared the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park; the park and its 10 km buffer zone were declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1989. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 10,500 km² of ocean,21 islands and the adjoining coastline; the islets and coastal buffer zone include beaches and tropical dry broadleaf forests, while the marine environments include seaweed communities, sea grass communities, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangrove forests. The Gulf of Mannar is known for its pearl banks of Pinctada radiata and Pinctada fucata for at least two thousand years.
Pliny the Elder praised the pearl fishery of the gulf as one of the most productive in the world. Although extraction of natural pearls is considered too expensive in most parts of the world, it is still carried out in the gulf; the chief seaports on the Gulf of Mannar are Colombo in Sri Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. While these ports can accommodate deep-draft vessels, the shallow Palk Strait can only accommodate small shallow-draft vessels. In July 2005, the Indian Government took preliminary steps to go ahead with the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, which would create a deep channel linking the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay of Bengal. Project boosters emphasize the benefits of a direct shipping route that connects India's east and west coasts without the long trip around Sri Lanka.
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
The Ohio River is a 981-mile long river in the midwestern United States that flows southwesterly from western Pennsylvania south of Lake Erie to its mouth on the Mississippi River at the southern tip of Illinois. It is the second largest river by discharge volume in the United States and the largest tributary by volume of the north-south flowing Mississippi River that divides the eastern from western United States; the river flows through or along the border of six states, its drainage basin includes parts of 15 states. Through its largest tributary, the Tennessee River, the basin includes several states of the southeastern U. S, it is the source of drinking water for three million people. The lower Ohio River just below Louisville is obstructed by rapids known as the Falls of the Ohio where the water level falls 26ft. in 2 miles and is impassible for navigation. The McAlpine Locks and Dam, a shipping canal bypassing the rapids, now allows commercial navigation from the Forks of the Ohio at Pittsburgh to the Port of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi on the Gulf of Mexico.
The name "Ohio" comes from the Ohi: yo', lit. "Good River". Discovery of the Ohio River may be attributed to English explorers from Virginia in the latter half of the 17th century. In his Notes on the State of Virginia published in 1781–82, Thomas Jefferson stated: "The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth, its current gentle, waters clear, bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted." In the late 18th century, the river was the southern boundary of the Northwest Territory. It became a primary transportation route for pioneers during the westward expansion of the early U. S; the river is sometimes considered as the western extension of the Mason–Dixon Line that divided Pennsylvania from Maryland, thus part of the border between free and slave territory, between the Northern and Southern United States or Upper South. Where the river was narrow, it was the way to freedom for thousands of slaves escaping to the North, many helped by free blacks and whites of the Underground Railroad resistance movement.
The Ohio River is a climatic transition area, as its water runs along the periphery of the humid subtropical and humid continental climate areas. It is inhabited by flora of both climates. In winter, it freezes over at Pittsburgh but farther south toward Cincinnati and Louisville. At Paducah, Kentucky, in the south, near the Ohio's confluence with the Mississippi, it is ice-free year-round; the name "Ohio" comes from the Seneca language, Ohi:yo', a proper name derived from ohiːyoːh, therefore translating to "Good River". "Great river" and "large creek" have been given as translations. Native Americans, including the Lenni Lenape and Iroquois, considered the Ohio and Allegheny rivers as the same, as is suggested by a New York State road sign on Interstate 86 that refers to the Allegheny River as Ohi:yo'. An earlier Miami-Illinois language name was applied to the Ohio River, Mosopeleacipi. Shortened in the Shawnee language to pelewa thiipi, spelewathiipi or peleewa thiipiiki, the name evolved through variant forms such as "Polesipi", "Peleson", "Pele Sipi" and "Pere Sipi", stabilized to the variant spellings "Pelisipi", "Pelisippi" and "Pellissippi".
Applied just to the Ohio River, the "Pelisipi" name was variously applied back and forth between the Ohio River and the Clinch River in Virginia and Tennessee. In his original draft of the Land Ordinance of 1784, Thomas Jefferson proposed a new state called "Pelisipia", to the south of the Ohio River, which would have included parts of present-day Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia; the river had great significance in the history of the Native Americans, as numerous civilizations formed along its valley. For thousands of years, Native Americans used the river as a major trading route, its waters connected communities. In the five centuries before European conquest, the Mississippian culture built numerous regional chiefdoms and major earthwork mounds in the Ohio Valley, such as Angel Mounds near Evansville, Indiana, as well as in the Mississippi Valley and the Southeast; the Osage, Omaha and Kaw lived in the Ohio Valley, but under pressure from the Iroquois to the northeast, migrated west of the Mississippi River in the 17th century to territory now defined as Missouri and Oklahoma.
The discovery and traversal of the Ohio River by Europeans admits of several possibilities, all in the latter half of the 17th century. Virginian Englishman Abraham Wood's trans-Appalachian expeditions between 1654 and 1664; the first person to traverse the length of the river, from the headwaters of the Allegheny to its mouth on the Mississippi, was a Dutch trader from New York, Arnout Viele, in 1692. In 1749, Great Britain established the Ohio Company to 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, 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. This conflict was called the Indian War. In 17
Kuwait the State of Kuwait, is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia; as of 2016, Kuwait has a population of 4.5 million people: 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 3.2 million are expatriates. Expatriates account for 70% of the population. Oil reserves were discovered in commercial quantities in 1938. From 1946 to 1982, the country underwent large-scale modernization. In the 1980s, Kuwait experienced a period of geopolitical instability and an economic crisis following the stock market crash. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded, annexed, by Saddam's Iraq; the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait came to an end in 1991 after military intervention by a military coalition led by the United States. Kuwait is a major non-NATO ally of the United States, it is a major ally of ASEAN, while maintaining a strong relationship with China. Kuwait is a constitutional sovereign state with a semi-democratic political system.
Kuwait has a high-income economy backed by the world's sixth largest oil reserves. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world. According to the World Bank, the country has the fourth highest per capita income; the Constitution was promulgated in 1962. Kuwait is home to the largest opera house in the Middle East; the Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network. In 1613, the town of Kuwait was founded in modern-day Kuwait City. Administratively, it was a sheikhdom, ruled by local sheikhs. In 1716, the Bani Utub settled in Kuwait, which at this time was inhabited by a few fishermen and functioned as a fishing village. In the eighteenth century, Kuwait prospered and became the principal commercial center for the transit of goods between India, Muscat and Arabia. By the mid 1700s, Kuwait had established itself as the major trading route from the Persian Gulf to Aleppo. During the Persian siege of Basra in 1775–79, Iraqi merchants took refuge in Kuwait and were instrumental in the expansion of Kuwait's boat-building and trading activities.
As a result, Kuwait's maritime commerce boomed, as the Indian trade routes with Baghdad, Aleppo and Constantinople were diverted to Kuwait during this time. The East India Company was diverted to Kuwait in 1792; the East India Company secured the sea routes between Kuwait and the east coasts of Africa. After the Persians withdrew from Basra in 1779, Kuwait continued to attract trade away from Basra. Kuwait was the center of boat building in the Persian Gulf region. During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, vessels made in Kuwait carried the bulk of trade between the ports of India, East Africa and the Red Sea. Kuwaiti ships were renowned throughout the Indian Ocean. Regional geopolitical turbulence helped foster economic prosperity in Kuwait in the second half of the 18th century; the biggest catalyst for much of Kuwait becoming prosperous was due to Basra's instability in the late 18th century. In the late 18th century, Kuwait functioned as a haven for Basra's merchants, who were fleeing Ottoman government persecution.
Kuwaitis developed a reputation as the best sailors in the Persian Gulf. In the 1890s, Kuwait began to feel threatened by the Ottoman empire. In a bid to address its security issues, the ruler, Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah signed an agreement with the British government in India, subsequently known as the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899 and became a British protectorate; the Sheikhdom of Kuwait remained a British protectorate from 1899. Following the Kuwait–Najd War of 1919–20, Ibn Saud imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait from the years 1923 until 1937; the goal of the Saudi economic and military attacks on Kuwait was to annex as much of Kuwait's territory as possible. At the Uqair conference in 1922, the boundaries of Kuwait and Najd were set. Ibn Saud persuaded Sir Percy Cox to give him two-thirds of Kuwait's territory. More than half of Kuwait was lost due to Uqair. After the Uqair conference, Kuwait was still subjected to a Saudi economic blockade and intermittent Saudi raiding; the Great Depression harmed Kuwait's economy.
International trading was one of Kuwait's main sources of income before oil. Kuwaiti merchants were intermediary merchants; as a result of the decline of European demand for goods from India and Africa, Kuwait's economy suffered. The decline in international trade resulted in an increase in gold smuggling by Kuwaiti ships to India; some Kuwaiti merchant families became rich from this smuggling. Kuwait's pearl industry collapsed as a result of the worldwide economic depression. At its height, Kuwait's pearl industry had led the world's luxury market sending out between 750 and 800 ships to meet the European elite's desire for pearls. During the economic depression, luxuries like pearls were in little demand; the Japanese invention of cultured pearls contributed to the collapse of Kuwait's pearl industry. Historian Hanna Batatu explains how the British threatened to take the Kurdish area and Mosul out of Iraq provided that King Faisal granted Britain control of the oil in the region. In 1938 the Kuwaiti Legislative Council unanimously approved a request for Kuwait’s reintegration with Iraq.
A year an armed uprising which had raised the integration banner as its objective was put down by the British. With the end of the world war, increasing need for oil across the world, Kuwait experienced a period of prosperity driven by oil and its liberal atmosphere; the period
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