Fast Facts

Jefferson City; 39,079
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.


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

Related Features

  • Photo: City skyline at dusk

    Family Trip: Kansas City

    Experience Kansas City, one of the Midwest's hottest destinations with an all-American sports scene, down-home barbeque, and well-known jazz roots.

  • Photo: Saint Louis Gateway Mall

    Free Things to Do in St. Louis

    Nestled just below the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, St. Louis has a rich history of trade, travel, and adventure.

  • Photo: Minneapolis Orchestra Building, Wisconsin

    Mississippi River Road Trip

    Artistic offerings combined with small-town Americana make for the best of the Midwest.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities

2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

  • Picture of a volcano on Reunion Island

    Who Will Win?

    Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel