Long before European explorers arrived here, this land was the ancestral home of Native American Indian tribe; they raised their children and crops; hunted the bountiful land, and for the most part, lived in peace.
Shortly thereafter protective forts, small fur-trading posts and settlements sprang up along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers; immigrants by the thousands arrived in this "Land of Opportunity" via river barges, and soon black slaves from the deep-south were brought in to work in the mining industry. In 1750, Missouri's first permanent settlement, Ste. Genevieve, was built.
For 50 years control of this land alternated between the Spanish and French, and then, in 1800, when the armies of French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte moved across Europe, pressuring the Spanish Crown into submission, the entire "Louisiana Territory" was returned to France.
Missouri joins the U.S.
In the new Missouri Territory, settlers from the east arrived in great numbers; they built homesteads and farmed the lands much to the dismay of the already pressured Indians. In a justifiable response the Indians attacked the white men and their uprisings continued until a peace treaty was finally signed in 1815.
In 1818, Missouri requested admittance into the Union as a slave state, but across America (and in Missouri) there were many opposed to slavery, so the Congress reached an agreement called the "Missouri Compromise" that let Missouri enter the Union as a "slave state" as long as Maine entered the Union as a "slave free state." On August 10, 1821, Missouri became the 24th State, and in 1826, Jefferson City the capital.
The Civil War ended in 1865 and slavery was abolished in Missouri. Regardless, the spoils of war were devastating as steamboats (the lifelines of commerce growth) in mid-America were destroyed by the hundreds in the war. River traffic never recovered as railroads proved more efficient and economical.
The Show Me State is surrounded by eight distinct neighbor states: Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. It doesn't come as a surprise that Missourians consider themselves at once Midwestern and Southern. This versatility is also felt in the state's natural landscape, from the soft hills of the Northern plains to the majestic Ozark Mountains in the South and the countless rivers and lakes sprinkled in between. Missouri is home to over 6000 recorded caves, second only to the state of Tennessee.
A mix of urban and rural culture, Missouri has a sound economy to back it up, ranging from aerospace, transportation equipment and food processing to agriculture products. Missouri cities and suburbs are thriving and families are moving here for the great quality of life and work opportunities. A major transportation center, with two of the nation's three busiest rail centers and two crucial airport cores, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and Kansas City International Airport, Missouri is well connected with the rest of the country.
Famous Missouri natives such as Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better known as Mark Twain), President Harry Truman, astronomer Edwin Hubble and poet Maya Angelou call Missouri their home.
As the gateway to America's west, modern Missouri is famed for historic river towns (large and small), the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Lake of the Ozarks recreational area and so much more. Missouri continues to grow, the economy remains strong, and its famous nickname, "The Show Me State" in many ways symbolizes Missourians as the dedicated, determined people that they've proved themselves to be.