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Encyclopedia > American Bottom

The American Bottom is a flood plain of the Mississippi River in southwestern Illinois, extending from Alton, Illinois, to the Kaskaskia River. It is also sometimes referred to in the plural as "American Bottoms". It is about 175 square miles in area, and is mostly protected from flooding by a levee and drainage canal system. The area across the river from Saint Louis, Missouri is industrial and urban, but many swamps and the major Horseshoe Lake are reminders of the riparian nature of the area. The southern portion of American Bottom is primarily agricultural, mainly planted with corn, wheat, and soybean. American Bottom is in the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has the greatest concentration of bird species in Illinois. The flood plain is bounded on the east by a nearly continuous, 200-300 foot high, 80 mile long bluff of limestone and dolomite, above which begins the great prairie that covers most of the state. This Mississippi River bounds the Bottom on its west; the river abuts the bluffline on the Missouri side. Portions of St. Clare, Madison, Monroe, and Randolph Counties are in American Bottom. Its maximum width is about 9 miles, to the north, and is about 2-3 miles in width throughout most of its southern extent. Flood Plain along Lynches River Johnsonville, South Carolina Showing high water mark on tupelo and cypress trees In geography, a flood plain is a plain formed of sediment, typically dropped by a river. ... Length 6,270 km Elevation of the source 450 m Average discharge Saint Louis¹: 5,500 m³/s Vicksburg²: 16,800 m³/s Baton Rouge³: 12,800 m³/s Area watershed 2,980,000 km² Origin  Lake Itasca Mouth  Gulf of Mexico Basin countries United States (98. ... State nickname: Land of Lincoln, The Prairie State Other U.S. States Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) Official languages English Area 149,998 km² (25th)  - Land 143,968 km²  - Water 6,030 km² (4. ... Alton is a city located in Madison County, Illinois. ... The Kaskaskia River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 320 mi (515 km) long, in central and southern Illinois in the United States. ... A flood (in Old English flod, a word common to Teutonic languages; compare German Flut, Dutch vloed from the same root as is seen in flow, float) is an overflow of water, an expanse of water submerging land, a deluge. ... A levee, levée (from the feminine past participle of the French verb lever, to raise), floodbank or stopbank is a natural or artificial embankment or dike, usually earthen, which parallels the course of a river. ... The Canal du Midi in Toulouse, France Canals are man-made waterways, usually connecting existing lakes, rivers, or oceans. ... Saint Louis (pronounced in English, in French), frequently spelled St. ... Look up urban in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A freshwater swamp This article is about the wetland type (a landform). ... Horseshoe Lake in Illinois is a cutoff meander loop of the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, Nameoki Township, in southwestern Illinois, about four miles east of Saint Louis, Missouri. ... Riparian areas or zones are the areas of vegetation directly separating land from water and immediately adjacent land that is frequently inundated, or, in other words, the floodways of streams. ... Limey shale overlaid by limestone. ... Dolomite crystals from Touissite, Morocco Dolomite is the name of both a carbonate rock and a mineral (formula: CaMg(CO3)2) consisting of a calcium magnesium carbonate found in crystals. ... Prairie refers to an area of land in North America of low topographic relief that principally supports grasses and herbs, with few trees, and is generally of a mesic (moderate or temperate) climate. ... St. ... Madison County is a county located in the state of Illinois. ... Monroe County is a county located in the state of Illinois. ... Randolph County is a county located in the state of Illinois. ...



The name American derives from the time between the acquisition of the Northwest Territory by the United States after the American Revolution, but before the Louisiana Purchase. The French colonists west of the Mississippi River refered to the bottomlands to the east as the "American" bottoms because of this change in sovereignty. The Northwest Territory, also known as the Old Northwest and the Territory North West of the Ohio, was a government and region within the early United States. ... Before the Revolution: The 13 colonies are in red, the pink area was claimed by Great Britain after the French and Indian War, and the orange region was claimed by Spain. ... From Frank Bond, Louisiana and the Louisiana Purchase. ... North America The French established colonies across the New World in the 17th century. ...

Before European settlement, the area was home to peoples of the Mississippian culture, known as the Mound Builders; the Cahokia Mounds are a collection of large artifical earthen mounds rising from the flood plain, the most promient of which is Monk's Mound, the largest Pre-Columbian earthwork in North America. This was the largest city north of modern-day Mexico, and was abandoned before 1400. Archaeological investigation has determined that the smaller mounds were used for burial, while the larger were used for homes and temples. Remains of a wooden stockade and a Woodhenge solar calendar were found at this site. The area surrounding the mounds consists of lakes, called borrow pits, from which soil was taken to make the mounds. The Mississippian culture was a Mound-building Native American culture that flourished in the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States in the centuries leading up to European contact. ... This article is about mound-building birds. ... Cahokia was a Native American city located near Collinsville in west-central Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. ... Monks Mound is the largest Pre-Columbian earthwork of its type in North America. ... Events Henry IV quells baron rebellion and executes The Earls of Kent, Huntingdon and Salisbury for their attempt to have Richard II of England restored as King Jean Froissart writes the Chronicles Medici family becomes powerful in Florence, Italy Births Owen Tudor, seventh generation descedant of Rhys ap Gruffydd (approximate... A borrow pit is a term used in construction and civil engineering. ...

The earliest European settlement in this region of the Mississippi Valley was by the French, whose settlements included Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, and Prairie du Pont. Examples of French colonial archtecture are found here, including the old Cahokia courthouse and Holy Family Catholic Church, both made with distinctive vertical log construction. Length 6,270 km Elevation of the source 450 m Average discharge 16,200 m³/s Area watershed 2,980,000 km² Origin Lake Itasca Mouth Gulf of Mexico Basin countries United States (98. ... Kaskaskia is a village located in Randolph County, Illinois. ... Cahokia is a village located in St. ... Prairie du Rocher is a village located in Randolph County, Illinois. ... Dupo is a village located in St. ...

The area directly across from Saint Louis, Missouri, is highly industrialized; due to the prevailing west winds, polluting "smokestack" industries, such as steel mills, chemical plants, and oil refineries were located here. This northern area of American Bottom attracted many immigrants and African-Americans from southern states to work in these factories. Many Eastern Europeans immigrants made their home here, and founded the first Bulgarian Orthodox church in the United States, in Madison, Illinois. East Saint Louis remains predominantly African-American. Heavy industry is still prominent in this area, although total employment in these industries is declining. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with some 6. ... Madison is a city located in Madison County, Illinois. ...

During the Flood of 1993, major portions of the southern Bottom were flooded; 47,000 acres of land, below Columbia, Illinois was inundated, destroying the town of Valmeyer. The waters came within five feet of overtopping the East Saint Louis levee, which would have flooded 71,000 acres. The Great Flood of 1993 was a huge flood that occurred in the American Midwest in 1993. ... Columbia is a city located in Monroe County, Illinois. ... Valmeyer is a village located in Monroe County, Illinois. ...

Major cities in American Bottom

The Illinois Caverns State Natural Area is in this area. East St. ... Granite City is a city located in Madison County, Illinois. ... Madison is a city located in Madison County, Illinois. ... Cahokia is a village located in St. ...

See also

Little Egypt can mean: Little Egypt, a belly dancer. ... -1...

External links

  • RiverWeb - American Bottom Landing Site
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and Interpretive Center
  • Text of an American Bottom historial marker
  • Flood of 1993, National Weather Service
  • American Bottom Ecosystem Project



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