Missouri (MO)- The Show Me State was officially admitted to the Union on August 10, 1821. As a Midwestern state with over six million residents today, it comes in as the 18th most populous state in America. The largest urban areas within Missouri include St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. The state capitol, Jefferson City, is situated along the state’s defining geological formation: the Mississippi River.
To the south, one can find the Ozarks, named for the forested highland that provides businesses with timber, minerals, and recreation. The Mississippi River is used to draw the eastern border of the state, mapped after the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Today, the state is divided into 114 counties, with the exception of the independent city of St. Louis.
History of Missouri
The land that is MO today was home to traveling peoples for the last 12,000 years. As a notable area of Native American activity, MO was able to provide fruitful harvest with access to the Mississippi River. All of that changed when European explorers arrived in the 1600s and encountered the Osage and Missouria nations, the predominant native tribes of the time.
The French went ahead and established Louisiana, a part of their New France settlement, and founded Ste. Genevieve in 1735, followed by St. Louis in 1764. After a brief Spanish rule following the Revolutionary War, the United States went ahead and purchased the land from the French for only 3 cents per acre. Known as the Louisiana Purchase, completed in 1803, MO was officially part of the expanding American nation.
Americans explored from the south up through the region, bringing with them enslaved African Americans. They settled the new Missouri Territory as quickly as possible. At this time, heavy German immigration formed what is known as the Missouri Rhineland today.
Missouri became a central figurehead for United States westward expansionism at this time. The construction of the Gateway Arch, known as the tallest man-made arch in the western hemisphere, was planned as a tribute to American expansionism. Additionally, the Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, and the California Trail all began in the state of Missouri.
During the Civil War, as a border state in the conflict, Missouri became integral to the result of the war. Siding with the slave-freeing nations, after the war, both St. Louis and Kansas City became centers of industrialization and business in the nation.
Jefferson City, Missouri
Although Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri, it’s the 15th most populous city in the state today. Named after Thomas Jefferson, the city boasts a title of “America’s Most Beautiful Small Town.”
The city is situated on the northern edge of the Ozark Plateau, to the southern side of the Missouri River, called Mid-Missouri today. It also borders the Missouri Rhineland, which pops up to the east of the city.
The city is home to Lincoln University, founded in 1866 by the 62nd Regiment of the U.S. Colored troops.
The city uses a mayor-council system for governance, and a citywide vote for the mayoral election. All state and federal government buildings and agencies are located within Jefferson City, including the Missouri Department of Corrections and the bicameral legislature.
St. Louis, MO
The most notable city within the state of Missouri, St. Louis’ history extends back to its founding in 1764. Incorporated in 1822, St. Louis is an independent city, plus a major port strategically situated on the Mississippi River. Also founded by French fur traders, two men, Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau, named the city after Louis IX of France.
Today, St. Louis is home to the states most renowned museums, art institutions, educational institutions, and fine dining, with the ever-popular Gateway Arch that marks the skyline from miles away. The city has the largest metropolitan area in the state of Missouri, and the 19th largest area in the entire country.
As a fruitful wine production region, the Missouri Rhineland is a geographical area of Missouri that extends from the western portion of St. Louis to the eastern portion of Jefferson City. Encompassing the Missouri River Valley on both sides of the river, the region earned its name from German settlers that found its appearance to resemble the original Rhineland in Europe.
The vineyards within the region succeeded immensely before the Prohibition movement, making Missouri the second-largest wine production state in the nation at the time. Prohibition halted production, and it wasn’t until the 60s that local families decided to bring their wineries back to life. Today, it is underpinned by dozens of wine trails and tours.
Nicknames: Show Me State – Cave State – Mother of the West
Capitol – Jefferson City
Largest City – Kansas City
Largest Metro – Greater St. Louis
Total Area – 69,704 square miles
Width – 240 miles
Length – 300 miles
Water – 1.17%
Population – Ranked 18th with 6,093,000 (2016 estimate)
Median Household Income – $59,196
Admission to Union – August 10, 1821
Governor – Eric Greitens (R) Resigned Mid-Term – Acting Governor: Mike Parson (R)
Lieutenant Governor – Mike Kehoe (R)
U.S. Senators: Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R)
U.S. House Delegation: Lacy Clay (D) Ann Wagner (D) Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) Vicky Hartzler (R) Emanuel Cleaver (D) Sam Graves (R) Billy Long (R) Jason T. Smith (R)
Time Zone: Central
ISO 3166: US-MO
Abbreviations: MO or Mo.