Missouri is a state in the Midwest region of the United States of America. As a centrally located federal state, Missouri has eight neighboring states: Iowa to the north, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee to the east (across the Mississippi River), Arkansas to the south and Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to the west.

According to William Least Heat Moon, St. Louis is the last city of the East and Kansas City is the first city of the West. Missouri is popularly called the Show Me State.



Northeast Missouri - with Hannibal and Kirksville.
Northwest Missouri - with St. Joseph.
St. Louis Region - metropolitan area with the cities of St. Louis and St. Charles.
Kansas City Region - metropolitan area including the cities of Kansas City and Independence.
Central Missouri - with Jefferson City and Columbia.
Southeast Missouri - with Ste. Genevieve, Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau.
Southwest Missouri - is part of the transstate Ozarks region with Springfield, Joplin, West Plains and Branson.



1 Branson
2 Cape Girardeau
3 Columbia
4 Hannibal
5 Herman
6 Independence
7 Jefferson City—Capital.
8 Joplin
9 Kansas City
10 Neosho
11 Saint Joseph
12 St Louis
13 Sedalia
14 Springfield


Other destinations

Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial MO, (636) 464-2976.
Ste. Genevieve - first settlement with the oldest standing brick houses west of the Mississippi River.
Lake of the Ozarks - reservoir. 


Getting here

Numerous interstate freeways and highways traverse the state:
Interstate 70 connects St. Louis and Kansas City via Columbia.
Interstate 55 follows the Mississippi River north from Memphis to St. Louis.
Interstate 44 enters the state from Oklahoma and leads to St. Louis via Joplin and Springfield. Most of the road follows historic Route 66.
Interstate 35 runs northeast from Kansas City to Des Moines and southwest through the Kansas suburbs of Kansas City to Wichita, Kansas.
Interstate 29 runs northwest from Kansas City to Omaha/Council Bluffs. The street begins or ends in downtown Kansas City and runs parallel to US Highway 71.
US Highway 71 runs north-south from Iowa to Arkansas through western Missouri, connecting Kansas City and Joplin.
US Highway 60 runs through the south of the state, connecting Kentucky and Oklahoma. There are only 60 miles of dual carriageways between Cape Girardeau and Springfield. West of Springfield, the short Missouri Highway 360 connects the US Highway to Interstate 44.



The total area of Missouri is 180,533 km², which ranks it 21st among all US states.

Along with Tennessee, Missouri has the most bordering states. To the north is Iowa, to the east Illinois (across the Mississippi), Kentucky and Tennessee, to the south Arkansas, and to the west Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska (across the Missouri River).

North of the Missouri are the Northern Plains, which spill into Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. The Ozark Plateau lies south of the river and extends into Arkansas and Oklahoma. Springfield (Missouri) is the third largest city on the plateau in the southwest of the state.

The two largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, lie in the middle of the western and eastern borders of the state, respectively, and form parts of the interstate metropolitan areas of Kansas City and Greater St. Louis, respectively.



Early history

Archaeological digs along the river valley have revealed continuous habitation since about 9000 BC. Beginning before 1000 A.D., the people of the Mississippian culture established regional political centers in present-day St. Louis and, across the Mississippi River, in Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Their metropolises included thousands of individual dwellings. However, for religious, political, and social reasons, Cahokia is also known for its massive earthen mounds, built as platforms, ridges, and cones, which are still extant. Cahokia was the center of a regional trading network that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Civilization declined by 1400 A.D., and most descendants left the region long before the arrival of Europeans. At one time, St. Louis was called the Mound City by Euro-Americans because of the many prehistoric mounds that had been lost to urban development. The Mississippian culture left mounds in the middle Mississippi and Ohio River valleys and extended into the southeast and upper river valleys.

The land that became Missouri was part of many different territories from the 1600s until it became a state, with shifting and often indeterminate boundaries and many different Native American and European names. west of the Mississippi River, which became Missouri for most of the early 1700s, In the early 1700s, French traders and missionaries explored the entire Mississippi Valley, and in the early 1700s, the area was named "Louisiana, named the area "Louisiana." Around the same time, another group of French Canadians who established five villages on the east bank of the Mississippi River placed their settlements in le pays des Illinois, "the Illinois country." When the Habitants (French-Canadian settlers) began crossing the Mississippi River and establishing settlements such as St. Genevieve, their settlements were also placed in Illinois Country. At the same time, French settlements on both sides of the Mississippi River were part of French Louisiana. To distinguish the settlements in the middle Mississippi Valley from the French settlements in the lower Mississippi Valley around New Orleans, French officials and residents called the middle Mississippi Valley La Haute Louisiane, "High Louisiana," or "Upper Louisiana.

The first European settlers were primarily French Canadians, who established the first settlement in Missouri at what is now St. Genevieve, about an hour south of St. Louis. They emigrated from Illinois around 1750. They came from colonial villages east of the Mississippi River, where the soil was becoming depleted and river-bottom land was scarce for the growing population. The early Missouri settlements were populated by enslaved Africans and Native Americans, and slave labor played a central role in both commercial agriculture and the fur trade. Sainte Genevieve became an agricultural center, producing surplus wheat, corn, and tobacco and shipping tons of grain annually downstream to Louisiana for trade. Grain production in Illinois was vital to the survival of lower Louisiana, especially the city of New Orleans.

St. Louis was soon founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclade, a French fur trader from New Orleans, and his stepson Auguste Chouteau. from 1764 to 1803, the area known as Louisiana, from the Mississippi River west to the northernmost part of the Missouri River Basin European control of the area was taken over by Spain as part of the new Spanish viceroyalty under the Treaty of Fontainebleau (a treaty that allowed Spain to join with France in the war against England). The Spanish arrived in St. Louis in September 1767.

St. Louis became the center of the fur trade with Native American tribes up the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and dominated the local economy for decades. Major corporate traders shipped furs from St. Louis down the river to New Orleans for export to Europe. They provided merchants with a variety of goods to buy and sell to Native American customers. The fur trade and related businesses made St. Louis an early financial center, bringing wealth to build luxury homes and import luxury goods. Located near the confluence with the Illinois River, St. Louis also handled agricultural products from agricultural areas. River transportation and trade along the Mississippi River were vital to the state's economy. As the first major city in the region, St. Louis grew significantly after the invention of the steamboat and the increase in river trade.


19th century

Napoleon Bonaparte made Louisiana, a Spanish colony since 1762, a French territory from Spain by the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. However, the treaty was kept secret. Louisiana remained nominally under Spanish control until the transfer of power to France on November 30, 1803, just three weeks before the cession to the United States.

As part of the U.S. purchase of Louisiana in 1803, Missouri served as an important departure point for explorers and settlers heading west in the 19th century, earning it the nickname "Gateway to the West." St. Charles, just west of St. Louis, was the starting point and return destination for the Lewis and Clark expedition that ascended the Missouri River in 1804 to explore western lands as far as the Pacific Ocean. For decades, St. Louis was a major supply center for settlers heading west.

Many of the early settlers in western Missouri migrated from the Upper South, bringing enslaved African Americans as agricultural laborers, hoping to continue their culture and slavery. They settled primarily in 17 counties along the Missouri River, which became known as "Little Dixie" because of the flat lands available for plantation agriculture.

The state was hit by the New Madrid earthquake of 1811-12. Casualties were low because of the sparse population.


Admission as a state in 1821

In 1821, the Missouri Territory was officially admitted as a slave state under the Missouri Compromise and the state capital was temporarily located in St. Charles; in 1826, the state capital was moved along the Missouri River to present-day Jefferson City.

Initially, the western boundary of the state was a straight line defined as the meridian through Cousemouth, the point where the Kansas River flows into the Missouri River. Since this designation, the river has moved. This line, known as the Osage Boundary Line, was added to the northwest corner of the state in 1836 after the Platte Purchase land was purchased from a Native American tribe, making the Missouri River the boundary north of the Kansas River. This addition increased the area of Kansas, already the largest state in the Union at the time (approximately 66,500 square miles (172,000 km2) and 65,000 square miles in Virginia, including West Virginia at the time).

In the early 1830s, Mormon immigrants from the northern states and Canada began to settle in the area near and immediately north of Independence. Conflicts over religion and slavery arose between the "Old Settlers" (primarily from the South) and the Mormons (primarily from the North); the Mormon War broke out in 1838; by 1839, Governor Lilburn Boggs' "extermination order" forced the Old Settlers to expel the Mormons from Missouri and confiscate their land, confiscated their land.

Conflicts over slavery exacerbated border tensions between states and territories: in 1838-1839, a border dispute with Iowa over the so-called Honey Lands led both states to muster militias along the border.

As immigration increased, Missouri's population nearly doubled every decade from the 1830s to the 1860s. Although most of the new residents were American-born, many Irish and German immigrants arrived in the late 1840s and 1850s. The majority were Catholic and established their own religious institutions in the previously predominantly Protestant state. Many immigrants settled in urban areas, creating a regional and state network of Catholic churches and schools. 19th century German immigrants started the wine industry along the Missouri River and the beer industry in St. Louis.

While many German immigrants were strongly opposed to slavery, many Irish immigrants living in urban areas were in favor of it, fearing that freeing African American slaves would lead to an overabundance of unskilled labor and lower wages.

Prior to the Civil War, most Missouri farmers were subsistence farmers. The majority of those who owned slaves had fewer than five per capita. Planters, defined by some historians as those who owned 20 or more slaves, were concentrated in a county called "Little Dixie" in the central part of the state along the Missouri River. Tensions over slavery were primarily related to the future of the state and the nation: in 1860, enslaved African Americans made up less than 10% of the state's population of 1,182,012. To control flooding of farmland and low-lying villages along the Mississippi River, the state completed construction of 140 miles (230 km) of levees along the river by 1860.


American Civil War

When the secession of the southern states began in 1861, the Missouri state legislature called for the election of a special convention on secession. It voted against secession but expressed support for the Union. In the aftermath of the Battle of Fort Sumter, pro-Southern Governor Claiborne F. Jackson ordered the mobilization of hundreds of state militia who had gathered at a camp in St. Louis for training. In secret, he also requested Confederate arms and artillery to take the St. Louis Arsenal. Alarmed by this action and learning of the Confederate aid, General Nathaniel Lyons launched a preemptive attack, surrounded the camp, and forced the state troops to surrender. Lyons instructed his soldiers, primarily German immigrants who did not speak English, to march the prisoners through the streets. How this riot began is debatable, but it grew into violence and Union soldiers were killed by St. Louis citizens. This entire incident is referred to as the Camp Jackson incident.

These incidents sharpened the divisions within the state. Governor Jackson appointed Sterling Price, chairman of the secession convention, as the new head of the Missouri National Guard. With Union General Ryan advancing rapidly through the state, Jackson and Price were forced to flee the state capital, Jefferson City, on June 14, 1861. In Neosho, Missouri, Jackson convened a state legislature seeking secession. However, the elected legislative body was split between pro-Union and pro-Union factions. As a result, few pro-Confederates attended the caucus convened in Neosho, and the secession ordinance was quickly adopted. The Confederacy approved Missouri's secession on October 30, 1861.

With the elected governor absent from the capital and the legislature largely dispersed, the state convention reconvened with most members present, except for 20 who had fled south with Jackson's army. The convention declared all offices vacant and appointed Hamilton Gamble as the new governor of Missouri. President Lincoln immediately recognized the Gamble administration as the legitimate government of Missouri. The federal government's decision allowed for the raising of pro-Confederate militia units to operate within the state and volunteer regiments for the Union Army.

Fighting continued between Union forces and General Price's Missouri National Guard and Confederate forces from Arkansas and Texas led by General Ben McCulloch. After winning the Battle of Wilson's Creek and the siege of Lexington, Missouri, and suffering losses elsewhere, Confederate troops retreated to Arkansas and later to Marshall, Texas, in the face of largely reinforced Union forces.

Confederate regulars made a major raid into Missouri, but fighting in Missouri for the next three years was primarily guerrilla warfare. Captain William Quantrill, Frank James, Jesse James, the Younger brothers, William T. Anderson, and other "citizen soldiers" and rebels used rapid small unit tactics. Pioneered by the Missouri Partisan Rangers, such insurrections also occurred in some Confederate areas occupied by Union troops during the Civil War. Historians have portrayed the story of the James brothers' outlaw days as an American "Robin Hood" myth; the vigilante activities of the Baldknobbers of the Ozarks in the 1880s, an unofficial continuation of the rebel spirit after the official end of the war, are a favorite theme of Branson's self-image The "Bald Knobbers of the Ozarks" are a favorite theme of Branson's self-image.


Political system


The capital of Missouri is Jefferson City. Missouri is divided into 114 counties. The city of St. Louis is not part of a county.


Political system

Missouri's current constitution, the state's fourth, was adopted in 1945 and implements the separation of powers. Legislation takes place through a bicameral system: a House of Representatives and a Senate. Both together form the Missouri General Assembly. The governor is entrusted with the management of government affairs, has the right to pardon and also has representative tasks. The current governor is Republican Mike Parson. Missouri has eight representatives in the House of Representatives.

Since Missouri is located in the center of the country and politically has north/south and west/east differences and both large cities and rural areas, the state was often considered a "bellwether" (German: "leithammel", "indicator") for the overall mood of the United States (known as the Missouri Bellwether). From 1904 to 2004, with the exception of 1956, Missouri always voted for the winning presidential candidate, making it a classic swing state. However, no Democratic candidate has won the state since 1996, which is why Missouri is now considered a red state (Republican stronghold); Mitt Romney was able to win the ten electoral votes in 2012 with a lead of over nine percentage points over Barack Obama.

In its southeastern areas, Missouri is also characterized by the foothills of the Bible Belt. Under the administration of George W. Bush, Missouri was initially heavily Republican. In the 2006 Senate elections, Democrat Claire McCaskill won in a neck-and-neck race against her Republican opponent Jim Talent, but after the 2010 House elections, six of the nine representatives were members of the Republican Party. In the 113th Congress, Missouri lost a seat; This was at the expense of the Democrats, who now only have two representatives. Missouri has had ten votes in the Electoral College since 2012, up from twelve in 1984.


Police and National Guard

The state police force is the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It reports to the Missouri Department of Public Safety. In addition, the police are organized at the county and municipal level. In addition to its role as a military reserve, the Missouri National Guard is also used for all kinds of emergencies within the country. It includes voluntary militiamen who report to the governor. During federal operations, the President of the United States is Commander-in-Chief. The Adjutant General of Missouri is Brigadier General Levon E. Cumpton. Separate from the National Guard is the state guard, the Missouri State Defense Force, which is solely committed to the state.



In June 2017, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a travel advisory for Missouri due to numerous racist incidents, racial profiling by police, and a new law in the state that makes racial discrimination lawsuits more difficult. This was the first such travel warning for a US state. It says, among other things:
Individuals traveling in this state should do so with extreme caution. Crimes based on race, gender and color have a long history in Missouri. Missouri, home of Lloyd Gaines and Dred Scott, the dubious honor of the Missouri Compromise, and one of the last states where slavery became history, may not be safe... The bill SB 43 legalizes individual discrimination and harassment in Missouri and would prevent Missourians from protecting themselves from discrimination, harassment and revenge. Additionally, overzealous punishment of minor traffic violations has resulted in African Americans being stopped 75% more often than whites.

In May 2017, African-American Tory Sanders from Tennessee died in a prison in southeast Missouri after guards used pepper spray and a Taser on him. Sanders had been arrested after becoming lost and had not been charged with any crime. The law, SB 43, is described by critics as part of Jim Crow laws.



According to the 2020 census, the population was 6,154,913. The largest cities are Kansas City and St. Louis.

83.7% (5,058,971) of Missouri's population are white, 11.7% (700,704) are black, 3.9% (233,568) are Hispanic, 1.8% (107,800) are of Asian descent, 0.5 % (29,944) are of Native American or Alaskan descent, 0.1% (5988) are Hawaiian or Polynesian and 2.0% (119,778) are of heterogeneous ancestry.

6.2% of the population is younger than 5 years, 23.1% are under 18 years, 15.0% are 65 years or older. The female proportion of the population is 51.0%. (Stand 2013)

The five largest ancestry groups in Missouri are: German (27.4 percent), Irish (14.8 percent), English (10.2 percent), American (8.5 percent) and French (3.7 percent).

6.1% of Missouri residents speak a language other than English at home.

3.9% of Missouri residents were born abroad. 87.2% of those over 25 have a high school diploma, and 25.8% of this age group have an academic degree (bachelor).



The religious communities with the largest number of members in 2000 were the Catholic Church with 856,964, the Southern Baptist Convention with 797,732 and the United Methodist Church with 226,578 followers. Around 20% of the population is Roman Catholic; particularly in the areas of the cities of Kansas City and St. Louis. Baptists, Methodists and Lutherans - among which the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod plays an important role - belong to the Protestant denominations. Independence near Kansas City is seen by the Mormons as the future New Jerusalem; supporters of the smaller Mormon churches are particularly concentrated there.


Economy and Infrastructure

The gross domestic product per capita (per capita GDP) was USD 49,383 in 2016 (national average of the 50 US states: 57,118; national ranking: 36). The unemployment rate was 3.4% in November 2017 (national average: 4.1%).

The most important industrial sectors are aviation technology, logistics, agriculture and food industry, chemicals, printing industry, electronics.

Agricultural production focuses on beef, beans, pork, hay, corn, poultry and eggs.

Cotton and rice are grown in southeast Missouri on the fertile plains of the Mississippi.

Missouri has large reserves of limestone. Other mineral resources include lead and coal. The construction industry is supplied with cement and gravel from here.

Tourism and services are other important industries.



The most important state universities are the University of Missouri with its main location in Columbia, the Missouri State University, the Missouri Western State University and the Southeast Missouri State University. The best-known private universities are Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University. Other universities are included in the list of universities in Missouri.