Fast Facts

Population:
5,704,484
Capital:
Jefferson City; 39,079
Area:
69,704 square miles (180,533 square kilometers)
Per Capita Income:
U.S. $28,841
Date Statehood Achieved:
August 10, 1821
Illustration: Missouri Flag

Frenchmen began mining lead here in the early 1700s; today southeastern Missouri is the country's foremost lead producer. In 1764 French traders founded St. Louis near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. In 1803, the U.S. acquired Missouri as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Subsequently, the influx of white settlers drove out the original inhabitants, members of numerous Native American tribes. Most were gone by 1836. The fur trade and the Santa Fe Trail brought increased prosperity, and St. Louis became the gateway for pioneers headed west. Today, both St. Louis and Kansas City thrive as transport hubs.

Agribusiness centers on Kansas City. St. Louis, the locus of aerospace and automobile manufacturing, is headquarters of the world's largest brewing company. More than seven million tourists a year enjoy live country music in Branson's celebrity theaters.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, electrical equipment, metal products
  • Agriculture: Cattle, soybeans, hogs, corn, poultry and eggs, dairy products

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