Written by Lyndsey Morgan
The great state of Missouri is located in the Mid-western portion of the United States and was first inhabited by French Canadian settlers. Scientists have found discoveries that show humans first inhabited the state over 7,000 years ago, long before the US was established as an independent nation. Missouri is nicknamed "the show me state", although the origins of this nickname are a constant source of debate. Some people claim the nickname came from a campaign slogan for a Congressman in 1899, while others claim it is a tribute to the state's citizens who want to be shown proof before they believe anything, showing that they are not a naïve people. The most famous symbol of the state of Missouri is the massive, shiny St. Louis Arch, which is often referred to as the "gateway to the west." Missouri has a history of supporting more winning Presidential candidates per election than any other state in the union, however Harry S. Truman is the only United States President born in Missouri. The state has many different economic anchors including technology, beer, dairy, and light manufacturing.
The state of Missouri has a long and storied history. Originally, French immigrants first settled in what is now known as St. Louis, and relied heavily on trading fur with various Indian tribes that surrounded the area. This thriving trade helped make this part of the country a major trade hub for business and culture, even in its infancy. When the steamboat was invented, trade in and out of Missouri and the St. Louis area increased and more people moved there, making it a booming area for a growing population. By the 1860s, the state's overall population had doubled in size. Many of the original population consisted of a combination of French, German, and African immigrants, although the majority of the Africans residing there at the time were still slaves. Farmers had been working the land long before the Civil War had begun, so by the time the war was underway, their slaves had to be moved into areas of the state called "Little Dixie."
The city of Saint Louis was named as such before the Civil War began. It is known as the "Gateway to the West" because the explorers Lewis and Clark left from there in 1804 to begin their trek across the western region of the United States. Saint Louis would mark the beginning point of their journey toward what would later be known as the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis also earned this nickname because many people searching for gold in California left from this point to head westward in a quest for wealth and money.
When the Civil War was underway, Missouri opted to stay on the union side. There were hundreds of battles that took place within the state of Missouri throughout the Civil War. In fact, only the states of Virginia and Tennessee exceeded the state of Missouri in the number of battles that occurred throughout the duration of the Civil War. The battle at Wilson's Creek was the first official battle that occurred there. The largest battle of the war west of the Mississippi River took place in Kansas City in 1864 and was known as the Battle of Westport. The state officially became part of the union in 1861 and went through a period of reconstruction between 1873 and the mid 1880s.
The current estimated total population of the state of Missouri is approximately 5,988,900 people. The state has seen a seven percent increase in population since the year 2000 alone. There is a large German immigrant population in Missouri, largely because many German immigrants settled there throughout the last several centuries. Three out of five people in living the state claim to practice the Protestant religion, and about twenty percent of all residents claim to be of the Roman Catholic religion. The average individual, per capita income in Missouri is about $32,000 per year. The state's biggest industries include aerospace, chemical engineering, farming and cattle, and limestone mining. The state is rich in natural resources because of the Mississippi River and its large concentration of natural stone such as coal and lead.
Aside from the Mississippi River, the Missouri River is another large waterway that runs through the state. This river flows from the west to the east and connects the two largest metro areas, Kansas City and Saint Louis. Jefferson City is the state's capital, although Kansas City has the largest concentration of people living there. The climate in Missouri is generally humid, with very cold winters that can often see several inches, if not feet, of snow per season. There are very few high mountain ranges located in Missouri, so the state sees very extreme climates from hot to cold and back again during the seasons. While most people in the state speak English, some still speak Missouri French, which is another version of the Creole language often also spoken in the state of Louisiana.
The bluebird became Missouri's official state bird in 1927. The state flower is the white hawthorn blossom, and the state animal is the Missouri mule. Missouri's state seal has a seal in the middle with two large bears on either side. Inside of the seal is the US coat of arms, which also contains a bald eagle. On the left of the seal is a crescent moon and a grizzly bear. The state's motto is also feature on the state seal and the motto is "Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto," meaning "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law." The state of Missouri also has a state rock, which is mozarkite. The state insect is the honeybee. This insect was designated by then governor John Ashcroft in 1985. The origin of the name of the state of Missouri comes from an Indian tribe name which means "town of the large canoes."
Missouri Fun Facts
Many claim that the ice cream cone was first invented at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. In 1811, the most powerful earthquake that ever hit the United States struck New Madrid, Missouri. Famous American author Mark Twain was born in the state of Missouri. Kansas City is famous for its barbecue, and it often rivals other states like North Carolina and Texas for the best barbecue in America. In fact, more people consumer barbecue sauce total in Missouri than in any other state! The Anheuser-Busch beer plant is located in Missouri and is the largest beer manufacturing plant in the country. Some other famous people who were born in Missouri include the famous outlaw Jesse James, the real Laura Ingalls Wilder, actor Don Johnson, and US president Harry S. Truman. Famous food inventions from the state of Missouri include Aunt Jemima pancake mix and Dr. Pepper.
There are plenty of wonderful and fun things to do in the state of Missouri. Of course, the famous Saint Louis Gateway Arch is one option, and millions of people flock to the city to pay a visit each year. Because of its vast landscape, there are many different places in Missouri to go fishing, hunting, and camping. Some popular spots include Mark Twain Lake, Smithfield Reservoir, and the Lake of the Ozarks, to name a few. Branson, Missouri is well known for its lively atmosphere, country music shows, and casinos. There is also an amazing butterfly adventure tour in Branson that attracts thousands of visitors every spring. The Ozark Mountains are a lovely feature of Missouri, and bring in tourists from all over the world who enjoy its scenic views, train tours, bed and breakfasts, hunting excursions, and much more. Travel along Route 66 and check out some fascinating insights on American culture and features unique only to Missouri.