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Missouri History Timeline

1600s - 1700s
  • (1682) Explorer, Sieur de La Salle, Robert Cavalier, traveled the Mississippi River, claiming the valley for France. He named the region "Louisiana" in honor of King Louis XIV
  • (1700) Jesuit missionaries established the first white settlement. The Mission of St. Francis Xavier erected near the site where St. Louis would eventually be built
  • (1724) Fort Orleans built on the north bank of the Missouri River
  • (1762) Spain gained control of the Louisiana Territory in the Treaty of Fontainebleau
  • (1764) City of St. Louis founded by Pierre Laclede Liguest and Rene Auguste Chouteau
  • (1769) City of St. Charles established by Louis Blanchette as a trading post
  • (1770) The Spanish government officially assumed control of the Territory of Louisiana
  • (1793) Louis Lorimer received trading privileges and the authority to establish a post at Cape Girardeau
  • (1796) Daniel Morgan Boone moved to Missouri and built a cabin at Femme Osage Creek
  • (1800) Napoleon Bonaparte forced Spain to return the territory west of the Mississippi to France
  • (1803) Louisiana Purchase occurs
  • (1804) The Lewis and Clark Expedition started out from St. Louis
  • (1805) The Territory of Louisiana established with its seat of government in St. Louis
  • (1808) The first newspaper, the Missouri Gazette, began publication in St. Louis
  • (1808) Fort Osage established on the Missouri River
  • (1811) The New Madrid earthquake occurred, the worst in US history
  • (1812) A portion of the Territory of Louisiana became the Territory of Missouri; the first general assembly of the Territory of Missouri met and the five original counties were organized: Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Ste. Genevieve
  • (1817) The steamboat Zebulon M. Pike reached St. Louis; the first steamboat to navigate the Mississippi River above the mouth of the Ohio River
  • (1818) The U.S. House of Representatives presented the first petition to Congress requesting statehood
  • (1820) Missouri's first Constitution adopted; first state elections held and Alexander McNair was elected the first governor and the first General Assembly met in St. Louis
  • (1821) President James Monroe admitted Missouri as the 24th state; the state capitol was temporarily located in St. Charles
  • (1826) Jefferson City designated Missouri's state capitol
  • (1835) Writer Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) born in Florida, Missouri
  • (1837) President Martin Van Buren issued a proclamation which completed the annexation of the Platte Purchase area to Missouri
  • (1837) Missouri's first capitol in Jefferson City destroyed by fire
  • (1838) Governor Lilburn Boggs issued the "Extermination Order" against Mormons living in Missouri, demanding that members of the Mormon church leave the state
  • (1839) The University of Missouri founded
  • (1847) St. Louis connected to the East by telegraph
  • (1849) A cholera epidemic struck St. Louis - over 4000 people died
  • (1854) President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, allowing the notion of "popular sovereignty" in determining if a territory would be a slave state or a free state
  • (1857) The Dred Scott decision handed down by U.S. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney; the case originated in St. Louis. Scott was allowed to sue for his freedom from slavery based on the fact that he had previously lived in a free territory
  • (1860) The Pony Express started its first run from St. Joseph to Sacramento, California
  • (1861) The Battle of Wilson's Creek resulted in a Union retreat and southwestern Missouri was left in Confederate hands; President Abraham Lincoln revoked John Fremont's emancipation proclamation for Missouri


  • (1862) A three day battle at Pea Ridge ended the Confederate military control in Missouri
  • (1865) Slavery abolished
  • (1873) Susan Blow opened the first public kindergarten in the United States in St. Louis
  • (1875) A grasshopper plague in Missouri caused an estimated $15 million worth of damages
  • (1882) Jesse James killed by Bob Ford in St. Joseph
  • (1901) First State Fair opened at Sedalia
  • (1911) State Capitol building completely destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning
  • (1919) Missouri became the eleventh state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment granting suffrage to women
  • (1920) Marie Byrum became the first woman to vote in Missouri history
  • (1922) Mellcene T. Smith and Sarah Lucille Turner became the first women elected to the Missouri state legislature
  • (1927) Charles Lindbergh landed the "Spirit of St. Louis" in Paris
  • (1931) Bagnell Dam completed, forming the Lake of the Ozarks
  • (1945) U.S. Vice President Harry S. Truman became President upon the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • (1946) Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech on the Westminster College campus in Fulton
  • (1948) Harry S. Truman elected U.S. President
  • (1965) The Gateway Arch (Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) was completed in St. Louis
  • (1968) Race riots occurred in Kansas City after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • (1992) Missouri voters approved riverboat gambling on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers
  • (1993) The Great Flood of 1993 devastated parts of Missouri and the Midwest
  • (1995) Scientists, archeologists and descendants gathered in Kearney to dig up Jesse James' grave.
  • (1996) Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher delivered a major address at Westminster College in Fulton
  • (2000) Governor Mel Carnahan, his son and a campaign advisor died in a airplane crash just outside of St. Louis
  • (2001) John Ashcroft became U.S. Attorney General
  • (2007) Two missing teenage boys, (one since 2002), found at home of Michael Devlin near St. Louis; he was charged with kidnapping
  • (2008) Gunman killed five at Kirkwood council meeting; Anheuser-Busch sold to Belgian brewer InBev
  • (2011) Tornado struck Joplin, over 100 people killed, over 1,100 injured, major destruction
  • (2011) St. Louis Cardinals won World Series
  • (2012) Several towns suffered extensive damage from midwest storm system

Missouri Photographs

Robert la SalleLouisianna PurchaseAlexander McNairSamuel ClemensMormon ExterminationDred ScottPony ExpressFlood at Cape GirardeauJohn Ashcroft

Missouri Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Kirksville Adair 660
Savannah Andrew 816
Rock Port Atchison 660
Mexico Audrain 573
Monett Barry 417
Lamar Barton 417
Butler Bates 660
Warsaw Benton 660
Marble Hill Bollinger 573
Columbia Boone 573
Saint Joseph Buchanan 816
Poplar Bluff Butler 573
Hamilton Caldwell 816
Fulton Callaway 573
Camdenton Camden 573
Cape Girardeau Cape Girardeau 573
Carrollton Carroll 660
Ellsinore Carter 573
Belton Cass 816
El Dorado Springs Cedar 417
Salisbury Chariton 660
Nixa Christian 417
Kahoka Clark 660
Kansas City Clay 816
Cameron Clinton 816
Jefferson City Cole 573
Boonville Cooper 660
Cuba Crawford 573
Greenfield Dade 417
Buffalo Dallas 417
Gallatin Daviess 660
Maysville DeKalb 816
Salem Dent 573
Ava Douglas 417
Kennett Dunklin 573
Washington Franklin 636
Owensville Gasconade 573
Albany Gentry 660
Springfield Greene 417
Trenton Grundy 660
Bethany Harrison 660
Clinton Henry 660
Wheatland Hickory 417
Mound City Holt 660
Fayette Howard 660
West Plains Howell 417
Ironton Iron 573
Kansas City Jackson 816
Independence Jackson 816
Joplin Jasper 417
Arnold Jefferson 636
Warrensburg Johnson 660
Edina Knox 660
Lebanon Laclede 417
Odessa Lafayette 816
Aurora Lawrence 417
Canton Lewis 573
Troy Lincoln 636
Brookfield Linn 660
Chillicothe Livingston 660
Macon Macon 660
Fredericktown Madison 573
Belle Maries 573
Hannibal Marion 573
Anderson McDonald 417
Princeton Mercer 660
Eldon Miller 573
Charleston Mississippi 573
California Moniteau 573
Monroe City Monroe 573
Montgomery City Montgomery 573
Versailles Morgan 573
Portageville New Madrid 573
Neosho Newton 417
Maryville Nodaway 660
Thayer Oregon 417
Linn Osage 573
Gainesville Ozark 417
Caruthersville Pemiscot 573
Perryville Perry 573
Sedalia Pettis 660
Rolla Phelps 573
Bowling Green Pike 573
Kansas City Platte 816
Bolivar Polk 417
Fort Leonard Wood Pulaski 573
Unionville Putnam 660
New London Ralls 573
Moberly Randolph 660
Richmond Ray 816
Ellington Reynolds 573
Doniphan Ripley 573
Saint Charles Saint Charles 636
Osceola Saint Clair 417
Farmington Saint Francois 573
Florissant Saint Louis 314
Saint Louis Saint Louis 314
Saint Louis Saint Louis City 314
Sainte Genevieve Sainte Genevieve 573
Marshall Saline 660
Lancaster Schuyler 660
Memphis Scotland 660
Sikeston Scott 573
Birch Tree Shannon 573
Shelbina Shelby 573
Dexter Stoddard 573
Reeds Spring Stone 417
Milan Sullivan 660
Branson Taney 417
Licking Texas 573
Nevada Vernon 417
Warrenton Warren 636
Potosi Washington 573
Piedmont Wayne 573
Marshfield Webster 417
Grant City Worth 660
Mountain Grove Wright 417

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.