Rivers are the cradle of the world’s earliest civilisations. Mythology and religion were born on their banks. They provide us with life-giving water. We eat of their bounty and create power from their energy. Radio Netherlands tells the stories of some of these “arteries of the world”.
Many are those who have lived on the shores of the mighty Mississippi River and its tributaries. When Europeans arrived in the southern river valley, Native Americans were forced to relocate. Spanish armies marched through, and French colonisers brought slavery to the cotton plantations that spawned booming river towns. European settlers pushed west, but the people without money to travel on or buy land lived on the river itself. They sold the driftwood they found, fish they caught or brew from a bootlegger’s still. These people became known as river rats. Few river rats are left these days. You’re just in time to join Radio Netherlands for a river journey to meet these proud people.
Producer: Martha Hawley
Broadcast: January 31, 2003