World History

Missouri State History – War, Explorers, Population, Facts

Missouri has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. One of the most important early cultures is the Mississippian culture. These people lived in the area from about 500 AD to about 1500 AD. They are sometimes called “mound builders” because they built many of the large mounds that can still be seen in Missouri today.

Information about Missouri State:

Capital Jefferson City
Population 6,177,957 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Independence, Columbia, Lee’s Summit
Borders Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $389,931.2 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including cattle, dairy products, corn, hay, soybeans, chickens, and eggs
Mining including limestone, coal, and lead
Transportation equipment, chemicals, food processing, aerospace, banking, and tourism

Flag of Missouri State:

Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived, Missouri was inhabited by Native American tribes. The three major tribes were the Osage of the southwest, the Missouri of the northwest, and the Illini of the east. These tribes grew crops such as corn, beans, and squash for food. They also hunted deer, buffalo and beaver. They had large earthen huts as their permanent homes and used tents when going on hunting trips.

Europeans Arrive

Europeans he arrived in Missouri in the late 16th century. In 1673, French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Father Louis Jolliet traveled to Missouri along the Missouri River. It was Father Marquette who first used the name “Missouri” when mapping the area. A few years later, in 1682, another French explorer named Robert de La Salle arrived and claimed Missouri to France as part of the Louisiana Territory.

Missouri State Symbols

  • Missouri State Nickname: Show Me State
  • Missouri State Slogan: Where the Rivers Run
  • Missouri State Motto: Salus populi suprema lex esto (The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law)
  • Missouri State flower: Hawthorn
  • Missouri State bird: Eastern Bluebird
  • Missouri State fish: Paddlefish (state aquatic animal), Catfish (state fish)
  • Missouri State tree: Flowering Dogwood
  • Missouri State mammal: Mule
  • Missouri State foods: North Cinthiana Grape

Early Settlers

In the early 17th century, French fur traders and missionaries began migrating to Missouri. Smaller missions and settlements were founded, such as Fort Orleans, built on the banks of the Missouri River in 1724. In 1764, the city of St. Louis was founded by French merchant Pierre Laclede. Control of the Louisiana Territory he passed to the Spaniards in 1762 and returned to France in 1800.

Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States gained control of Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Missouri was considered the beginning of a new frontier, as it was then on the western border of the United States. Explorers Lewis and Clark began their expedition westward near the city of St. Louis, Missouri, up the Missouri River.

The Geography of Missouri State:

  • Total Size of Missouri: 68,886 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Missouri: St. Francis River at 230 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Dunklin (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Missouri: Taum Sauk Mtn. at 1,772 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Iron (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Missouri: Located in Miller County approx. 20 miles southwest of Jefferson City (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Missouri: 115 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Missouri: Missouri River, Mississippi River, Osage River, Meramec Rivers, Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Reservoir, Bull Shoals Lake, Table Rock Lake

Becoming a State

Missouri was part of the Louisiana Territory until the establishment of the Missouri Territory in 1812. In 1817, Missouri applied to join the Union and form a state. However, many Northern legislators voted against Missouri’s accession because it tolerates slavery. Congress eventually reached an agreement known as the Missouri Compromise. Allows Missouri to join as a slave state, but at the same time admits Maine as a free state. On August 10, 1821, Missouri became the 24th state.

Gateway to the West

In the mid-19th century, Missouri became known as the “Gateway to the West.” Many settlers left here on their way to California, Oregon, and the rest of the West. This was one of the last places the wagon train could stop for resupply before embarking on its long journey. Both the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail originated in Missouri.

Civil War

When the Civil War began in 1861, Missouri chose to remain a Union state despite being a slave state. However, many people in the state wanted to secede and join the Confederacy. The two countries fought each other throughout the war, but the pro-union side remained in control. Before the war ended, Missouri passed new laws abolishing slavery in the state.

Famous People of Missouri State:

Tom Watson Professional Golfer
Dick van Dyke Actor and comedian
Mark Twain Author who wrote Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Harry S. Truman The 33rd President of the United States
J.C. Penney Founder of the Penney’s stores
Rush Limbaugh Talk show host
Kevin Kline Actor
Jesse James Notorious criminal
Edwin Hubble Astronomer
Sheryl Crow Singer
Maya Angelou Poet
Josephine Baker Singer, dancer, and civil rights activist
Chuck Berry Singer and guitarist
Omar Bradley WWII general
George Washington Carver Scientist and inventor

Interesting Facts of Missouri State:

Missouri was the eastern starting point for the Pony Express.

Branson, Missouri is famous for its country music shows.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis has an elevator that takes you to the top of the 630-foot tall arch.

Missouri is home to thousands of caves, earning it the nickname “Cave State”.

The ice cream cone was invented at the St. Louis World’s Fair when an ice cream vendor ran out of cones and tried to use cones instead.

The first successful parachute jump from an airplane was made in St. Louis in 1912 by Captain Albert Berry. Ice tea was also invented at the World’s Fair.

Missouri borders her eight states.

Here lived the tallest man of all time, Robert Wadlow. He was 8 feet 11 inches tall. President Harry S. Truman was born in Missouri. Other celebrities born here include George Washington Carver, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain and Jesse James.

The state is named after a Missouri Indian tribe. It meant “city of canoes”.

Timeline Overview:

500 AD to 1500 AD – Mississippians built great mounds of dirt across Missouri.
1673 – French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Father Louis Jolliet set foot in Missouri.
1682 – Robert de La Salle claims the French Louisiana Territory.
1724 – Fort Orleans is built.
1764 – The city of St. Louis is incorporated.
1803 – The United States purchases Missouri as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
1804 – Lewis and Clark leave St. Louis and follow the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean.
1812 – Missouri Territory is formed.
1821 – Missouri becomes the 24th state to join the United States.
1821 – The Santa Fe Trail opens from Missouri to New Mexico.
1826 – Jefferson City becomes the state capital.
1840s – Thousands of settlers follow the Oregon Trail from Missouri to the West Coast.
1857 – The Supreme Court issues the Dred Scott judgment against Missouri slave Dred Scott.
1865 – Slavery is abolished in the state before the end of the Civil War.
1905 – The world’s first gas station is built in St. Louis.
1945 – Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.
1965 – Construction of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is completed.