According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 324.0 square miles (839.2 km), of which 315.1 square miles (816.0 km) is land and 9.0 square miles (23.2 km), or 2.76%, is water.
The city's central geographic location has been strategic to its business development. Located on the Mississippi River and intersected by five major freight railroads and two Interstate Highways, I-40 and I-55, Memphis is ideally located for commerce in the transportation and shipping industry. Its access by water was key to its initial development, with steamboats plying the Mississippi river. Railroad construction strengthened its connection to other markets to the east and west.
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