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Missouri, US (Population: 5,842,713)
State Capitol: Jefferson City

Major Cities: Kansas City, Saint Louis, Springfield, Independence, Columbia, Saint Joseph, Lee’s Summit, Saint Charles, Saint Peters, Florissant

State Nickname/Motto: Show Me State – Salus populi suprema lex esto: The Welfare of the People Shall Be the Supreme Law

Statehood Granted: August 10, 1821

History: The Missouri Indians were part of the Southern Sioux tribes who lived along the Missouri River near the present-day border of Missouri and Nebraska. They were buffalo-hunters and farmers who lived in oven-shaped, earth-covered houses grouped into towns. After the arrival of the early explorers, smallpox depleted a great many of the local communities their numbers, so the surviving Missouri Indians lived with the neighboring Oto Indians. Combined, these bands included about 250 people. Many of the Missouris and Otos were away hunting buffalo when the Lewis and Clark expedition encountered their towns in July 1804. On August 2, a small group of Missouris and Otos arrived at the Corps’ camp site, which Clark had named Council Bluff - across and downriver from what is now Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Many of the early settlers in western Missouri came from the southern states, and along with them came the institution of slavery. In the area of Independence and areas just north of there, Mormon settlers began arriving in the early 1830s. It wasn't long before conflict arose between the 'old' settlers' (mainly from the south originally) and the Mormons mainly from the north and Canada. The 'Mormon War' erupted and by 1839 the Mormons had been expelled from Missouri.

Geography: Highest point: Taum Sauk Mountain; 1,772 feet. Missouri's borders physically touch a total of eight different states, as does its neighbor, Tennessee. No state in the U.S. touches more than eight states. Missouri is bounded on the north by Iowa; on the east, across the Mississippi River, by Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee; on the south by Arkansas; and on the west by Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. The two largest Missouri Rivers are the Mississippi which defines the eastern boundary of the state, and the Missouri which flows west to east through the state connecting the two largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis. North of the Missouri River lie the Northern Plains that stretch into Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Here, gentle rolling hills remain behind from a glacier that once had extended from the north to the Missouri River.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.5%), White (84.5%), Black or African American (11.2%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.4%), Asian (1.4%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.1%), Some other race (1.0), Two or more races (1.5%), Hispanic or Latino (2.6%)*

Famous State People:
  • Maya Angelou (1928 - ) Author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; born in St. Louis.
  • Scott Bakula (1955 - ) Actor of television’s “Quantum Leap”; born in St. Louis.
  • Yogi Berra (1925 - ) New York Yankee catcher that won 10 World Series; born in St. Louis.
  • Chuck Berry (1926 - ) Singer known for “Johnny B. Goode”; born in Wentzville.
  • Susan Elizabeth Blow (1843 - 1916) Teacher and founder of the nation’s first public kindergarten in St. Louis; born in St. Louis.
  • Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) (1835 - 1910) Author made famous with Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; born in Florida, MO.
  • T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965) Nobel Prize winning author of The Wasteland; born in St. Louis.
  • Kathleen Turner (1954 - ) Actress starring in Romancing the Stone; born in Springfield.
  • James Cash Penney (1875 - 1971) Founder of the J.C. Penney Company; born in Hamilton.
  • Harry S. Truman (1884 - 1972) The 33rd President of the United States; born in Lamar.
  • Roy Wilkins (1901 - 1981) Leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); born in St. Louis.
  • Jesse James (1847 - 1882) Famous outlaw killed by one of his own gang; born in Kearney.
  • Rush Limbaugh (1951 - ) Radio and television talk show host; born in Cape Girardeau.
  • Omar N. Bradley (1893 - 1981) Commanded the 12th Army Group in World War II, the largest American force ever united under one man's command. Bradley served 69 years on active duty in the Armed Forces, longer than any other soldier in United States history; born near Clark.
  • David Rice Atchison (1807 - 1886) A Missouri native, held the office of president of the United States for one day in 1849.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: University of Missouri System, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri State University, Truman State University, University of Central Missouri, Northwest Missouri State University

    State Parks: Babler, Sam A. Baker, Bennett Spring, Big lake, Big Oak Tree, Big Sugar Creek, Castlewood, Crowder, Cuivre River, Elephant Rocks, Ha Ha Tonka, Hawn, Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Katy Trail, Jones-Confluence Point, Knob Noster, Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Wappapello, Lewis and Clark, Long Branch, Montauk, Morris, Onondaga Cave, Pershing, Pomme de Terre Prairie, Roaring River, Robertsville, Rock Bridge Memorial, Rout 66, St. Francois, St. Joe, Stockton, Table Rock, Taum Sauk Mountain, Thousand Hills, Trail of Tears, Mark Twain, Van Meter, Wallace, Washington, Watkins Mill

    Misc: St. Louis, Missouri is an important center of jazz and blues, as well as country and bluegrass. Kansas City was also one of jazz's major centers, with performers such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie and Lester Young. Kansas City's own style of jazz, ragtime, got its influential hold at the city of Sedalia thanks to Scott Joplin and his publisher John Stark, and through another Missouri native- James Scott. The state also has a vibrant tradition of fiddling characterized by a driving bowing style.

    Branson, Missouri is a tourist area especially associated with popular country music. The town's popular attention began in the 1980s, when a number of prominent country stars moved to the area, including Boxcar Willie, Sons of the Pioneers and Roy Clark. Prominent local attractions in Branson include the entrepreneur and performer Jennifer Wilson, a regional celebrity known for her show the Americana Theatre; the Mabe family's Baldknobbers, which has been running for three generations; and Jim Owen, of the Jim Owen Morning Show. The area's radio broadcasting history can be traced back to the mid-1930s, when Ralph Foster's KWTO began airing. The station's most famous program was the Ozark Jubilee from Springfield, which featured Homer and Jethro, Porter Wagoner, Red Foley and Slim Wilson. Ralph Foster, the founder of KWTO, is a major figure in Branson's music history. To commemorate his contributions to country music, a museum named after him was built on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.

    *U.S. Census - 2005