Education

Map of the Niagara River and the Welland Canal, c. 1900


Historical Context
The Niagara River was formed some 12,000 years ago from water melting off glaciers. The river flows thirty-four miles from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.  Along those thirty-four miles, the river makes a sudden large drop in elevation, called Niagara Falls.  Downriver from the falls, the river makes a 90º turn that is known as the Whirlpool.
Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information contained in the map and explain the influence of this water source on New York's culture and economy.
[click to enlarge]
Map of the Niagara River and Welland Canal, New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_Ni
Document Description
A map of the Niagara River and Welland Canal, circa 1900.
Questions
  1. Describe the shape of the Niagara River.
  2. How was it formed?
  3. In which direction does the river flow?
  4. Which lake do you think has a higher elevation, Lake Ontario or Lake Erie?
  5. What two countries border the river?
  6. How far is the Whirlpool from Niagara Falls?
  7. Why do you think the Welland Canal was built between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie when the Niagara River already connected the two lakes?
Resources
  1. Whitcraft, Melissa. The Niagara River. New York: Franklin Watts, 2001. ISBN: 0531119033
  2. http://www.niagarafrontier.com/cataract.html#WHIRLPOOL
  3. http://www.niagaraparks.com/nfgg/geology.php
  4. http://www.niagarafallslive.com/Facts_about_Niagara_Falls.htm