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Culture, Geography, and Prehistoric Settlements Along the Mississippi River

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The culture of the Mississippi River has an effect on geography and in turn geography impacts the culture along the Mississippi River. The geography of the Mississippi River provided early settlers with the natural resources to survive and thrive. At the same time the aggressive expansion of culture significantly impacted the Mississippi River’s region.
Archeological evidence establishes that Native American culture existed as early as 10,000 B.C.E. Native Americans occupied land and developed civilizations along the Mississippi River. James Crutchfield reports in his book, It Happened on the Mississippi River, that prehistoric American Indians, in 700 B.C.E, constructed a “metropolis along the stream’s eastern bank”, now know as Cahokia. Crutchfield writes that Cahokia’s citizens resided in a “four-thousand-acre-town” and in this town there are over one hundred platforms and burial mounds that range from little mounds to mounds that reach one hundred feet high.
As explorers made their way to the Mississippi River, cultures began to expand. Spain, England and the French struggled for control over the Mississippi River, each knowing that “whoever controlled the river had the advantage.” Crutchfield maintains that for eighty years the French influence “was in guise of fur trappers, traders, and voyageurs” until the British took over. What’s more, cultural influence was a motivator for the United States to purchase “nearly 156,000 acres…located in the vicinity of the [St. Anthony] Falls” in 1805.
For the next fifty three years, inhabitants along the Mississippi River introduced new culture to the land. Inhabitants began to strategically position their businesses. Actually, the site for the magnificent city of...


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...s predicted the potential danger that the Mississippi River posed. Crutchfield discloses that Antoine Simon Le Page Du Pratz wrote in his book, The History of Louisiana, that “if a town was at this day to be built in this province, a rising ground would be pitched upon, to avoid inundations.” In addition, Mark Twain describes the Mississippi River’s ability to change positions. Twain reports that Hard Times, Louisiana is “two miles west of the region it used to occupy. As a result, the original site of the settlement is not now in Louisiana at all, but on the other side of the river, in the State of Mississippi.”
The Mississippi River history is a notable example of the relationship between culture and geography. Prehistoric settlement and development along the river has illustrated that while culture affects geography, geography in turn affects culture.



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