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General background about this state

Missouri Flag     Missouri Great Seal


  Blue Springs
  Jefferson City
  Kansas City
  St. Louis

Missouri is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United 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 last across the Missouri River).

  • NICKNAME: The Show-me State
  • POPULATION: 6,044,171 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Jefferson City
  • STATE BIRD: Bluebird
  • STATE FLOWER: Hawthorn
  • AREA: 69,709 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Central
  • ENTERED UNION: Aug. 10, 1821
  • ALTITUDE: High, 1,772 ft. Taum Sauk Mountain
  • CLIMATE: Generally hot summers, cold winters; moderate rainfall.


The first state west of the Mississippi to be admitted to the Union, Missouri was for many years both a jumping-off point to the West and a transportation center for an expanding U.S.-and so it remains. It is here that the country's two greatest rivers marry their waters. Above St. Louis, the swelling Mississippi is joined by the "Big Muddy", the Missouri, a voracious giant that western author Stanley Vestal once called "the hungriest river ever created...eating yellow clay banks and corn fields...winding up its banquet with a truck garden and picking its teeth with the timbers of a big red barn". It is indeed a mouthful of river, and it is only in the past century that men have begun to devise ways to harness its rampaging power.

In Missouri, the residents like to say, the East ends and the West begins. By way of example, they cite eastern-oriented St. Louis, an established manufacturing center with the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. For contrast, they turn to the younger metropolis of Kansas City, whose westward orientation is reflected in bawling stockyards, grain elevators and the meat-packing industry. Physiographically, Missouri has equally great differences. The rugged Ozark uplands rise in the southern part of the state. East of them lies a flat land of abundant rain and rich black soil.

The Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge
Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge , Missouri

But the rest of the U.S. knows Missouri best for its "show-me" character, expressed by a now forgotten congressman named William Vandiver. "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats", he said in 1899, "and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me".



  • Kansas City has a second level of roads, offices, ex-trolley car tunnels, and storage areas built into natural caves below the streets of the city.
  • Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) used his hometown of Hannibal as the model for settings in his novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
  • In late 1811 and early 1812, three of the strongest earthquakes in U.S. history rocked Missouri near Madrid. The quakes, which scientists believe measured 8 on the Richter Scale, caused the Mississippi river to flow backward temporarily.
  • On March 18, 1925 the most destructive tornado tore through Annapolis leaving a 980-foot wide track of demolished landscape. It injured 3,000 and killed 823 people.
  • St. Louis is home of the tallest man in documented medical history (2006 est.). His name was Robert Pershing Wadlow and he was 8 feet, 11 inches tall.
  • Kansas City boasts more fountains than any city except Rome and more miles of boulevards than Paris (2001 est.).


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