Introduction - Missouri FactsMissouri, located in the Midwest Region of the United States, has a past rich in history. Often called the "Gateway to the West" due to the fact that in the 1800s settlers and explorers who were heading west would often gather supplies in and begin their trip from Missouri. In fact the Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, and the Pony Express all had their starting point in Missouri. Missouri also has a bloody past involving conflicts over the issue of slavery. Below is a list of interesting facts about this Midwest state including its history, and more general facts such as when it became a state, and what states it borders. This information is written for both kids and adults.
Click here for a great selection of Amazon.com books about Missouri.
Missouri Quick Facts
- Missouri became the 24th U.S. state on August 10th of 1821.
- Missouri is the 21st largest U.S. state based on its total area of 69,709 square miles (180,533 square kilometers).
- With a population of 6,063,589 (2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimate) it is the 18th most populous U.S. state.
- The capital of Missouri is Jefferson City.
- The state's largest city is Kansas City.
- Missouri, along with Tennessee, borders more states than any other U.S. state; both border eight states. Missouri borders Iowa on the north; Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee (across the Mississippi River) on the east; Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska on the west; and Arkansas on the south.
- The state of Missouri was named for the Missouri River; the river gets its name from the Missouri Indians.
- People from Missouri are called Missourians.
- This state's official motto is "Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto"; this translates to "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law".
- The state flower is the White Hawthorn Blossom.
Missouri Interesting Facts
- Missouri's most famous landmark is the Gateway Arch located on the bank of the Mississippi River in St. Louis. At a height of 630 feet (192 meters) this stainless steel structure is the world's tallest arch and the tallest monument located in the Western Hemisphere.
- Missouri does not have an official nickname; however it is often referred to as the "Show Me State". Other nicknames include "The Ozark State", "The Lead State", and "The Bullion State".
- Missouri's five largest cities are Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Independence, and Columbia.
- The land that is now the state of Missouri was purchased from France in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
- Three of North America's greatest rivers flow through this state; the Mississippi River, Missouri River, and the Ohio River.
- Missouri is located in what has been dubbed "Tornado Alley"; a region of the U.S. known to experience numerous tornados. In 2011 the Joplin tornado hit the state resulting in the deaths of 159 people. It was one of the deadliest tornados in U.S. history.
- The 33rd President of the United States, Harry S Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri.
- The author Mark Twain was born in Florida, Missouri. His famous novels "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" take place in Hannibal, Missouri where he grew up.
Missouri History Facts
- Native American Indians have inhabited the land that is now Missouri for more than 7,000 years.
- The oldest permanent European settlement in what is today Missouri, and one of the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River, was Ste. Genevieve. This settlement was founded around 1735 by French Canadians.
- Soon after the first European settlement, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis was founded and quickly became the center of fur trade with Native American tribes in the region.
- In 1804 the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition departed from St. Charles which is just a few miles from Saint Louis.
- Starting in the late 1700s many settlers from the south migrated into the future state of Missouri. They brought with them black slaves to work on their farms. This would be a factor effecting the Missouri Territory entering the U.S. as a slave state in 1821.
- Tensions between Missouri settlers and newer Mormon (Latter Day Saints) settlers resulted in what is referred to as the Mormon War in 1838. The short conflict resulted in several Mormon deaths and thousands of Mormons in Missouri being forced to flee the state.
- A series of violent confrontations, dubbed the Border War, Bleeding Kansas, or Bloody Kansas, took place between 1854 and 1861 between anti-slavery and pro-slavery settlers in the Kansas Territory and Missouri. This border war involved the issue of whether or not Kansas would enter the United States as a slave state or a free state.
- When the American Civil War began there was a lot support in Missouri for the Confederate cause; however the Missouri legislature voted to remain within the Union. This caused many incidents of violence.