Missouri, the “Show Me State,” was named after the tribe Missouris. The first explorers showed up in 1673 when Father Jacques Marguette and Louis Joliet gave the first written accounts of the area.
In the mid-1730s, the French settled in Ste. Genevieve. In 1764, St. Louis was established as a fur trading post. By this time, Spain had control of the area. In 1802, Spain gave the area back to France in a secret treaty. French leader Napoleon Bonaparte sold it to the United States the following year for $15,000,000.
In 1812, Missouri was officially recognized as a territory, and on August 10, 1821, it joined the Union as the 24th state.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 let Missouri join the Union as a slave state while Maine joined as a free state. Most Missourians did not believe in slavery, and when the Civil War broke out, most fought for the Union. At first, citizens wanted to stay out of the war, but the governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, was pro-southern and tried to join the Confederacy.
- Missouri farmer Valentine Tapley really did not care for Abraham Lincoln. He vowed that if Lincoln became president, he would never again shave. He kept his promise and ended up with a beard that was 12-foot six-inches long when he died in 1910.
- President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar and was the first Missourian to become commander in chief.
- Built in 1965, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the nation’s tallest man-made monument, standing 630 feet.
- Mark Twain was born and raised in the Show Me State. His book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was inspired by his experience as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River.