Missouri is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. As it is a state in the interior of the country, it is bordered by eight other states--Iowa is to the north, with Nebraska to the northwest. Illinois, Kentucky lie to the east, and Missouri even shares a short border with Tennessee. Arkansas is to the south, Oklahoma is to the southwest, and Kansas is to the west.
Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette and French fur trader Louis Jolliet led an expedition down the Mississippi river in 1673, making them the first recorded Europeans in the land that would become Missouri.
Date admitted to US: 1821
Capital: Jefferson City
Largest City: Kansas City
Terrain: The Ozark Mountains cover much of the southern part of the state. Much of Missouri’s importance has been due to the confluence of the Mississippi River with the Missouri River, plus the meeting of the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers within the state.
Missouri has three major geographical areas. The north-western region is a part of the prairie region of the United States. There are lowlands in the far southeast region that is a part of the Mississippi alluvial plain. Between the two is a portion of the Ozark Plateau.
The Mississippi river forms the eastern border of the state. The Missouri river flows west to east through the state and enters the Mississippi near the city of St. Louis. The Ohio River meets with the Mississippi at the eastern edge of its borders, where they meet Illinois.
Area rank: 21st
Population rank: 18th
Electoral votes: 10
Missouri was the starting place for many expeditions further to the west. In 1836, the first migrant wagon trail departed from Independence, Missouri, following a trail originally used by fur trappers. Independence was also the origin of the Santa Fe Trail, first travelled by William Becknell in 1821. The Pony Express would launch its first journey in 1860 from the city of St. Joseph.
The Mississippi River and the Missouri River meet near St Louis, Missouri, and the Ohio and Mississippi also meet in Missouri, allowing water transportation to much of the US.
Mark Twain was born and grew up in Missouri, and set his novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn there.
Samuel Langhome Clemens, who wrote under the penname Mark Twain was born in Missouri. The fictional town of St. Petersburg was based on the town of Hannibal, where he grew up. St. Petersburg is featured in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures Huckleberry Finn. Slavery was legal in Hannibal when Clemens was a boy, and is often explored in his works and he later became an abolitionist and supporter of civil rights.
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