Fun Facts About Mississippi, Illinois Rivers
The Mississippi is the largest river system in the United States and, indeed, North America. Roughly 2,320 miles long, the river originates at Lake Itasca, Minn., and terminates 95 river miles below New Orleans. The Ojibwa Indian word misi-ziibi, meaning “big river,” gave the Mighty Miss its name.
The Illinois River, approximately 273 miles long, is a principal tributary of the Mississippi. The river drains a large section of Central Illinois, with a drainage basin of more than 28,000 square miles. From 1905 to 1915, more freshwater fish were harvested from the Illinois than from any other river in the United States except for the western Columbia River. It also is essential to commerce, with barges bringing road salt, coal for electricity, and fuel for refineries into the state.