- from Mississippi River
In 1811, the New Orleans was the first steamboat launched on the Mississippi. Soon, steamboats were traveling up and down the river at faster and faster speeds.
In 1817, it took 25 days for a steamboat to travel from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Louisville, Kentucky—around 600 miles. In 1827, it took just ten days. Steamboats were ideally suited to river travel because they rode high in the water and didn’t run aground when water level was low. Most steamboats were simple workhorses designed to transport goods and passengers, but life on some was luxurious.