Missouri Facts

Tadashi

Tadashi

Published: 08 Feb 2022

Missouri Welcomes You roadside sign

Missouri’s fame has made the state the icon of the American West. In fact, if you mention Missouri, people will think of the American frontier from the 19th century. But there’s more to Missouri than just a state for nostalgia. Learn more about it with these 60 Missouri facts.

  1. Missouri covers an estimated area of 181,000 km².
  2. Water makes up an estimated 2,500 km² of an area or around 1%.
  3. On its lowest point at the Arkansas River, the state has an elevation of around 70 meters above sea level.
  4. An estimated 6.16 million people live in the state today.
  5. This gives the state a population density of 34 people for every km².
  1. Humans have lived in Missouri as far back as 9000 BC.
  2. The Cahokia civilization included Missouri in its territory from the 10th to 14th centuries AD.
  3. Europeans first arrived in Missouri during the 18th century.
  4. Spain controlled the region during the 18th century.
  5. France secretly took control of the region at the start of the 19th century.
  6. The USA took control of Missouri as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
  7. The Union and the Confederacy fought over Missouri during the American Civil War.
  8. Industry boomed in Missouri from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
  9. The state’s economy began to decline after WWII.
  10. Racial tensions in Missouri heightened in the 2010s.
  1. Missouri falls in the USA’s Central Time Zone or GMT-6.
  2. The state’s capital is Jefferson City.
  3. Kansas City makes up its biggest city, however.
  4. The state has a total of 114 counties, plus one independent city, Saint Louis.
  5. Missouri has its own unique dialect of the French language, Missouri French.
Table of Contents

The name Missouri has a history of its own.

It takes its name from the Missouri River, which received its name from the Missouri Native Americans. They called themselves the wimihsoorita, referencing their use of dugout canoes to travel on the river. This also gave them control of the river, which took their name in recognition.

That said, various historians have questioned this origin, who note discrepancies with the folklore of other Native Americans in the region. In particular, among the Ojibwe, wimihsoorita actually comes off as an encouragement to go and visit someone down the river. Other historians also express confusion on the use of the name, given how French explorers first arrived in the region. This comes from the fact that the French usually used French equivalents to the local names instead of using the local names themselves.

Missouri actually has no official nickname.

It does have unofficial nicknames, though, most commonly that of the Show Me State. The nickname’s origins remain contested among historians, with most attributing it to Congressman Willard Vandiver in the 1890s. Specifically, a speech wherein Vandiver declared himself from Missouri, where actions showed more than words ever could.

Many historians disputed this, citing various evidence that showed the nickname already existed in use before the 1890s. They argued the origin comes from how Missouri had to import new mine workers during the late 19th century. The new workers tended to have little to no experience, and so needed to show multiple demonstrations before they could do their job right.

US state flag of Missouri
Image from Adobe Stock

The state has various icons.

These include the American bullfrog, which makes up Missouri’s official state amphibian. There’s also the eastern bluebird, which makes up the official state bird, and the Channel catfish, which makes up the official state fish.

Missouri also has an official state flower, the white hawthorn, and even an official state grass, the big bluestem. The Missouri Fox Trotter makes up the official state horse, while the western honeybee makes up the official state insect.

Surprisingly, the state also has an official state mammal, distinct from the official state horse, the Missouri Mule. Missouri also has an official state tree, the Flowering Dogwood.

It also has its own anthem.

Specifically, The Missouri Waltz, the melody of which originally came from a different song, The Graveyard Waltz. Lee Settle originally composed the melody, with John Eppel later claiming he composed it instead. Frederic Logan rearranged the melody for The Missouri Waltz, with James Shannon adding words.

The Missouri Waltz was first published in 1914, with the song enjoying nationwide success in the 1940s, mostly attributed to Harry Truman becoming President of the USA in 1945 after Franklin D. Roosevelt died. A common misconception even claims the song as Truman’s favorite, which he explicitly denied.

The Missouri Waltz finally became the state anthem in 1949, after the passing of a law declaring it as such by the state legislature.

Missouri has distinct geography.

Eight different states border Missouri, a fact rivaled only by one other state, Tennessee.

Iowa borders Missouri to the north, while Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee itself border Missouri to the east, along the Mississippi River. Arkansas borders Missouri to the south, while Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma do the same to the west.

Oklahoma’s border with Missouri also follows their shared course of the Missouri River. Both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers also not only define part of the state’s borders but also link Kansas City and Saint Louis to each other. Missouri also geographically forms part of the USA’s Midwestern region.

Taum Sauk Mountain makes up the state’s highest point.

Forming part of the Saint Francoise Mountains in Southeastern Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain rises up to a height of 540 meters. Despite its relatively low height, Taum Sauk and its surrounding mountains also make up some of the oldest mountains in the world.

In fact, scientists have dated the rocks at the core of the mountain to the Precambrian Era, over 541 million years ago. They’ve also discovered that Taum Sauk and its surrounding mountains have also never found themselves completely underwater. Instead, even when prehistoric seas covered the surrounding landscape, the mountaintops poked out of the water as islands.

Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri
Image from Adobe Stock

Missouri enjoys various climates.

Most of Missouri has a humid continental climate that gives the state cool winters as well as hot and wet summers. Southern Missouri, though, has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters as well as hot and wet summers. Temperatures can peak at 48 degrees Celsius in the summer, and drop as low as 40 degrees below zero Celsius in winter.

The state also receives on average around 850 mm of rain every year, mostly in spring and summer. Summer and autumn also double as the annual storm seasons in the state. Snow doesn’t usually fall in large amounts in Missouri, typically peaking at 51 cm in the north, and at only 25 cm in the south.

One of the most powerful tornadoes devastated Missouri in the late 19th century.

Specifically, in 1896, as part of a large-scale tornado outbreak across the Central USA. On May 27, a tornado with wind speeds of around 377 kph swept across the city of Saint Louis. Its rampage left a path of destruction through the city around nearly 2 km wide, including Compton Heights, Lafayette Square, and Mill Creek Valley.

It was reported that 255 people died from the tornado, while another estimated 1,000 people suffered from various injuries. The damage caused by the tornado amounted to around $10 million at the time, or around $311 million today. An estimated 5,000 people lost their and all their possessions to the tornado as well.

Missouri has a rich biodiversity.

That said, centuries of settlement and human development have taken their toll on Missouri’s ecosystem. Brown bears, gray wolves, and pronghorns all used to live in Missouri, but have since gone locally extinct. Other species that used to live in Missouri include the Carolina parakeet and the passenger pigeon. Both of them have also gone extinct, not just in Missouri, but have suffered complete extinction as a species.

The ivory-billed woodpecker currently faces the same fate evident by its critically-endangered designation. All these losses and potential losses have led state and federal authorities to put protections in place for the Missouri ecosystem. Protected species in the state include the American bison, elk, and the wapiti.

Missouri Facts, Elk
Image from Wikipedia

The Mormon War took place in Missouri during the early 19th century.

Specifically, from August to November in 1838, and despite the name, actually amounted to nothing more than mass persecution of a religious minority. The Mormons originally migrated to Missouri in 1831 from New York, following a prophecy made by their founder, Joseph Smith. They believed they would build a New Jerusalem in Missouri’s Jackson County, but their arrival and beliefs caused tensions with the local settlers.

Tensions further rose from the Mormons’ opposition to slavery, and their willingness to accept Native American converts. This led to their expulsion from Jackson County in 1833, forcing their relocation to the surrounding counties. Tensions finally erupted after local elections in August 1838, leading to battles between the Mormons and non-Mormons, the latter backed by the state militia.

Finally, in November, Governor Lilburn Boggs demanded all Mormons leave or face mass execution. This led Smith and around 10,000 Mormons to leave Missouri for Illinois.

Slavery has a mixed history in Missouri.

On one hand, slavery enjoyed legal status in Missouri before the American Civil War. But on the other hand, subsistence farmers made up the majority of the state’s citizens at the time. They only operated small farms, worked on by their families, and produced only enough for themselves and their livestock. They couldn’t afford to buy, much less support slaves of their own.

Those who could afford slaves, though, concentrated in what would become called Little Dixie in Central Missouri, along the Missouri River. In the cities, public opinion was split between the German-American middle class, who strongly opposed slavery. In contrast, the Irish-American working-class supported slavery, for fear that abolition would lead to competition for jobs.

The Missouri state government practically collapsed at the start of the Civil War.

Missouri’s Governor at the time, Claiborne Jackson, supported the Confederacy and even mobilized the state militia at the start of the war. This led Union General Nathanial Lyon to preemptively arrest the militia before they could take any action. This, however, led to the Saint Louis Massacre, when the pro-Confederate citizens of Saint Louis mobbed General Lyon while marching through the city. Lyon and his men defended themselves, resulting in nearly 100 civilian casualties.

Governor Jackson tried to rally the state legislature in the aftermath for the Confederacy, only to find it split between the Union and the Confederacy. This led to a split in the state, with Governor Jackson and pro-Confederate legislators forming a pro-Confederate government in the south. In contrast, pro-Union legislators maintained control in the north and declared Hamilton Gable as the legitimate Governor of Missouri.

Various battles took place in Missouri during the war.

Major battles include the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, which took place on August 10, 1861. The Confederates won the battle and forced the Union to retreat to Springfield. However, their losses also meant they couldn’t chase the Union Army, giving the Union a chance to recover.

Later on, the Confederates laid siege to and took Lexington in September of that same year. Together with their earlier victory at Wilson Creek, this gave the Confederacy control of Western and Southwestern Missouri. However, Union forces under General John Fremont counterattacked in the same month and forced the Confederacy to abandon Lexington.

By March of 1862, Union forces had gained complete control of Missouri, with the pro-Confederate Missouri militia forced to retreat to Mississippi after losing the Battle of Pea Ridge.

The Union built a river navy in Missouri during the war.

Uniquely, the Union’s new river navy existed as a cooperative project between the US Army and US Navy. The river warships would serve under the US Army, which also provided the crews. However, the US Navy provided the officers who commanded the warships and directed their crews. A Unionist from Saint Louis, James Eads, oversaw the design and building of the Union’s river navy. In just three months, the Union finished nine new ironclads specifically designed to sail and fight in the various rivers of the American West.

This gave the Union an overwhelming advantage, with historians concluding the Union ironclads allowed the Union to completely collapse the Confederacy’s defenses in the region. In 1862 alone, they ensured the Fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, and later on, a Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh. These victories forced the Confederacy to stay completely on the defensive in the American West. It also doomed any and all Confederate plans to retake Missouri.

Guerilla warfare took place in Missouri during the war.

In fact, both the Union and the Confederacy used guerillas in Missouri, which ironically caused pro-Confederate sympathies to grow in the state. This resulted in the fact that the Union used Kansas militia to respond against Confederate guerillas. The Union militia, though, proved too eager to fight against the Confederacy. This led to brutal attacks against rural communities and settlements, and which caused them to turn against the Union. The Union’s own demand for all Missouri communities to raise militias of their own to support the Union also further angered local citizens.

This eventually led to General Order No. 11, issued by Union General Thomas Erwing Jr. in 1863. Any farmers and settlers between the Missouri River and Kansas had to prove their loyalty to the Union. Those who could do so kept their lands and property. Those who couldn’t prove their loyalty found themselves expelled, and their lands and properties burned.

Ex-Confederates quickly gained control in the state after the war.

The Union already suffered from unpopularity caused by their harsh actions in the war. And it grew even further when the federal government actively moved to empower the emancipated African-American population after the war. The Democratic Party took advantage of this to fan the flames of racial prejudice in the state. They also played up the Union’s heavy-handed actions as part of the “Lost Cause” myth of the Confederacy. Specifically, about how the Union unjustly sacrificed the rights and interests of individual states for its own purposes.

This allowed the Democrats, along with their ex-Confederate sponsors, to dominate politics in Missouri until the 1950s. This, in turn, allowed to not only reverse the post-war empowerment of the African-American population. They took this further with the introduction of Jim Crow laws that forcibly segregated the population along racial lines, and which barred African-Americans from social and economic advancement.

Railroad construction boomed in Missouri after the war.

The Civil War actually encouraged the growth of railroads, with the Union building a river navy of their own. This led them to close the rivers to civilian traffic, which previously depended on the rivers to move quickly across the region. River shipping never recovered from the loss of business, with investors instead turning to railroads as the future. In particular, they focused on the possibilities offered by Missouri as a crossroads between the Western and Eastern USA.

The year 1870 would see the completion of a railroad linking Saint Louis with San Francisco on the Pacific Ocean. Other railroads also linked Missouri with Kansas and Texas, with Missouri having an estimated 6,400 km of railroad by 1880.

Farming also expanded at the time.

This resulted from the expansion of railroads in the region, as marshy grounds were drained to make them suitable for railroads to pass through. Forests also found themselves cut down for wood in building the new railroads. This left wide open spaces behind, suitable for development into farmland.

The state government encouraged the expansion of the agricultural sector, along with a push for scientific farming methods. In 1870, Missouri had an estimated 37,000 km² of farmland, however, by 1900, that number had grown to 89,000 km² of farmland.

Ironically, though, the expansion of farms also came with a drop in the rural population. The adoption of modern farming methods had reduced the need for manual labor, leading to migration to the cities. In 1880, 75% of Missouri’s population lived and worked in the countryside. However, by 1900, that had dropped to 67%.

America’s entry into WWI was met with a mixed reception in Missouri.

Most people in Missouri supported the US entry into the war, except for the German-American population. Their open opposition to the war led to more than criticism, with German-Americans facing social pressure to prove their loyalty. In many cases, German-Americans in Missouri found themselves branded as unpatriotic or even as un-American in the media.

That said, while many people in Missouri did sign up to fight in Europe, the state never really found itself required to send men to the war. This came from the fact that most people in Missouri still worked on farms. The US government concluded their work served the country more than putting them in uniform would.

The Great Depression hit Missouri hard.

For starters, Missouri’s Pacific Railroad Company declared bankruptcy in 1933, while retail sales across the state fell by 50%. By that point, an estimated 300 banks across the state had also closed down their businesses. Saint Louis had the highest unemployment rate out of any US city by 1935, with the city’s construction sector practically collapsing. Kansas City also suffered from mass unemployment, with up to 10% of the city’s population dependent on charities just to survive by 1932.

Drought in 1930, 1934, and 1936, along with grasshopper swarms in 1936, devastated the farming sector. This, in turn, led to mass foreclosures as farmers found themselves unable to pay their debts to banks and insurance companies.

Missouri Facts, Grasshoppers Swarming
Image from Wikipedia

Missouri strongly supported the US war effort in WWII.

An estimated 450,000 people from Missouri joined the military in WWII, of which 8,000 died fighting overseas. Key military officers also came from Missouri, such as Omar Bradley, who led US ground forces in Europe. Jimmy Doolittle, who raided Japan in 1942, and later led the USAAF in destroying the Luftwaffe over North Africa and Germany itself, also came from Missouri.

At home, Missouri’s citizens bought over $3 billion war bonds to support the war effort. Unemployment in the state also dropped to nearly zero as citizens went to work for the war. Both Saint Louis and Kansas City became major centers of airplane production. Other factories also produced train cars and locomotives, needed to move men and war material quickly across the USA to ports on either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.

The struggle against racism in Missouri heated up after WWII.

African-Americans became concentrated in the cities of Saint Louis and Kansas City during the war. This ironically led to increased persecution for African-Americans in the countryside after the war, to force the remainder to move to the cities. Life didn’t prove much better in the cities, however, with African-Americans facing low pay, obstacles to getting white-collar jobs, and even finding themselves the first to get laid-off.

However, in 1948, the US Supreme Court forced Missouri to lift housing restrictions for African-Americans. Then in the 1950s, more court rulings forced the state to end segregation in athletic facilities, as well as in schools. In 1965, a new law officially ended segregation in public areas, and in the 1970s, more laws ended the remaining racial discrimination in the housing sector.

The state’s economy also changed in the decades after WWII.

Farms, once the backbone of the state economy, dropped in number while increasing in size. This resulted from advances in technology allowing few but bigger farms to produce more food for less cost than before. In 1945, Missouri had an estimated 250,000 farms, but by 1997, that number had dropped to just around 99,000.

The mining industry also shrunk, with iron and coal mining continuing today, but lead mining stopped in the 1970s. The textile industry also steadily shrank over the late 20th century, to finally go out of business by the 1990s. In contrast, manufacturing boomed in the state, as did the service industry, in particular, the river gambling business.

Missouri has mixed demographics.

Whites make up the majority in the state, at an estimated 81% of the population, while African-Americans only make up 12%. German-Americans actually still make up the plurality of whites, at 27%, with Irish-Americans following in second place, making up 15% of all whites.

In terms of overall ethnicity, Hispanics trail after African-Americans, making up 3% of the state’s total population. Asian-Americans then follow Hispanics in their turn, making up an estimated 2% of the population. Biracial or multiracial individuals also make up another 2%, while Native Americans only make up around 1% of the population. A very small number of Hawaiians also live in the state, but make up less than 1% of the population.

The same goes for the state’s religions.

The various Protestant denominations make up a small majority of the state’s religions, followed by 58% of the population. Roman Catholics make up another 16% of the state’s population, while other Christian denominations like Mormonism and Eastern Orthodoxy make up another 3% of the state’s religions.

Buddhists make up another 1% of the population, while other religions like Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam cumulatively make up another 2% of the state’s religions. A surprisingly large number of people also identify themselves as non-religious, at 20%. These include atheists, again surprisingly as the small sub-group, at only 2%, followed by agnostics at 3%. The remaining non-religious individuals, at 15%, only identify themselves as not following one religion or another.

The state capital at Jefferson City goes back to the early 17th century.

It didn’t start out with the name of Jefferson City, though. Instead, the frontier settlers called their new village Lohman’s Landing. It also stayed small until the early 19th century, when Daniel Boone designed a new street plan as it began to grow bigger.

After the US government formed the Missouri Territory in 1812, the territorial government based itself in Saint Louis, while also looking for a long-term capital. At first, they considered Saint Charles, before deciding on Lohman’s Landing instead. They also decided to rename the city, in honor of former US President Thomas Jefferson. At the time, Jefferson City stood as only a small trading post. However, as state functions slowly relocated to the city, it quickly began to grow. It officially became a city in 1825, with the state government officially declaring it the state capital in 1826.

Historic Landmark Marker in Jefferson City Missouri
Image from Adobe Stock

Tornadoes damaged the city in 2019.

They developed as part of May 2019’s tornado outbreak, which produced a total of 392 tornadoes across the USA. The tornado which struck Jefferson City reached a top speed of 260 kph, and originally first appeared near Eldon City. After damaging the city, it traveled across the countryside to Jefferson City, arriving near midnight on May 22.

Only one person died, a 61-year-old man who suffered fatal injuries from getting caught in the tornado’s path. Another 31 people suffered various injuries. Official authorities estimated the tornado’s damage at around $30 million. They also attributed the low casualties from the tornado to advance warning of the tornado, with Jefferson City citizens receiving it 30 minutes before the tornado’s arrival.

Missouri’s Kansas City goes back to the early 19th century.

The first settlement on the site goes back to 1821 when the French trader Francois Chouteau established Chouteau’s Landing. Over the following decades, other settlers slowly trickled in, including a group of Mormons who arrived in 1831. Their religious beliefs caused suspicion from other settlers and led to their eventual expulsion.

The settlement continued to grow over the following decades and received recognition as a proper town in 1850. In that same year, it officially renamed itself as the Town of Kansas, with growth speeding as the major trails used by settlers to head into the American West passed through it. Three years later, the Town of Kansas received official recognition as a proper city, and first used its modern name of Kansas City.

The city’s Troost Avenue became infamous after WWII.

This resulted from the influx of African-Americans into the city during the war to take up jobs for the war effort. However, this also caused racial tensions to spike, with whites leaving Eastern Kansas City for Western Kansas City.

At the same time, they used housing restrictions to keep African-Americans from moving into the city’s west. This made Troost Avenue famous for how it cut the city along an east-west line, as well as along racial lines. Given the poor economic prospects for African-Americans at the time, it also had the effect of turning Eastern Kansas City into a massive slum, with one of the highest murder rates in the country.

Missouri Facts, Troost Avenue
Image from Wikipedia

A riot erupted in the city over the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

It took place on April 9, 1968, five days after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Ironically, it started out as a peaceful protest march by students offended by the government failing to close schools in the city. They saw this as a show of disrespect, with the march growing bigger and angrier as it approached city hall.

Among those who joined the march along the way included Kansas City’s own mayor, Ilus Davis. The Kansas Police and the marchers met at city hall, with verbal confrontations growing louder and more confrontational until police finally launched tear gas at the crowd. Instead of dispersing them, it sparked a riot which eventually killed six people and injured another 20 people.

A major disaster later took place in 1981.

Specifically, the Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse on July 17, when two overhead walkways fell. The fall resulted from both walkways becoming overloaded by people, all attendees of the tea party taking place below. It not only caused the people on the walkways to fall to the ground but also showered rubble and broken glass down.

The official death toll eventually reached 114, while another 216 people suffered various injuries. It became the deadliest structural disaster in US history until 2001 when the 9/11 Attacks beat its record. It also led to a massive wave of lawsuits and a federal investigation against the construction company which built the building. Eventually, damages reached an estimated $3 billion, while the company lost all its licenses. While no criminal charges ever became filed, the loss of business proved punishment enough.

Agriculture makes up a large part of the state economy.

In fact, Missouri counts as the USA’s sixth-largest producer of pork and the seventh-largest producer of beef. It also always counts among the top five soybean producers in the USA, as well as the fourth-largest in rice production. The state’s grape farms also support a growing wine industry, and Missouri ultimately stands second only to Texas in the number of farms.

Other major agricultural products from Missouri include corn, cotton, dairy, eggs, hay, poultry, and sorghum. Overall, the agricultural sector adds an estimated $33 billion to the state GDP, supports an estimated 400,000 jobs, and makes an estimated $88 billion in sales.

Missouri’s economy also has other important sectors.

These include mining, with limestone mining, in particular, making up an important part of the sector. Missouri also produces large amounts of coal, crushed stone, and iron ore. It also used to mine the most lead out of any US state.

The biotechnology sector in Missouri also enjoys large-scale growth. Monsanto, one of the USA’s top biotech companies, came from Missouri and continues to operate in the state even after Bayer AG acquired the company in 2018.

The tourist and service industries also enjoy profitability in the state, with many visitors drawn to the state. In particular, the state’s many rivers and their opportunities for leisure and enjoyment draw many customers.

Missouri has invested in wind power.

Today, wind power generates an estimated 1 GW of electricity in the state or around 1% of the state’s electrical needs. The Rock Creek Wind Farm makes up the state’s biggest wind farm, producing an estimated 300 MW of electricity. Missouri also supplies wind power to other states, such as to Nebraska with the Midwest Transmission Project. There’s also the Mark Twain Transmission Project, which similarly supplies wind power from Missouri to Iowa. Missouri has also participated in a proposed project for sharing up to 4 GW of wind power between it and the states of Kansas and Indiana. Overall, scientists estimate that Missouri has a total wind power capacity of up to 340 GW.

It also invested in solar power.

In fact, solar power supplies up to 43% of the state’s energy needs, at 23 GW of electricity. Missouri’s biggest solar plant stands at Christian County and supplies an estimated 9% of Nixa City’s energy needs. With over 33,000 solar panels spread out over an area of around 300,000 square meters, engineers estimate the solar farm has an operational lifespan of around 25 years. A former senator for the state legislature, Jay Wasson, owns the land the solar farm stands on. However, IKEA has the single biggest solar array in the state, on the rooftop of their Saint Louis branch, which produces 1.28 MW of electricity.

The state has a solid infrastructural network.

Missouri has two international airports of its own, Saint Louis Lambert, and Kansas City. It also has two major regional airports, Springfield-Branson National Airport, and the Columbia Regional Airport. When it comes to railroads, both Kansas City and Saint Louis form major railroad hubs. In fact, Kansas City handles the most railroad tonnage in the entire USA. Amtrak operates various railway services which link Missouri’s cities together, and currently has plans in the works to link them with Chicago in Illinois. River traffic also regularly passes through the state’s rivers, with Saint Louis a major port for traffic on the Mississippi River.

The same goes for its educational system.

Missouri originally opposed public education, which resulted from Southern influence in the state. In particular, Southerners favored sending their children to private academies which typically could only get done by those with money. Things changed in the mid-19th century, though, when Republican politicians forced through the establishment of public education in the state as part of a general modernization program.

Today, all children aged 7 to 17 in Missouri must attend either a public or private school. The state also has mandatory standardized testing as a prerequisite for advancement from Grades 3 to 8, as well as for graduation. Parents may also home-school their children but under heavy regulation from the authorities. In addition to primary and secondary education, Missouri also has 13 different universities, as well as 20 different colleges.

Various historical figures hailed from Missouri.

These include President Truman, who originally came to the White House as Roosevelt’s Vice President and running mate in the 1944 elections. Roosevelt’s death in 1945 led to Truman becoming President and the one who oversaw the end of WWII. In particular, he made the controversial decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan. In doing so, he forced a quick Japanese surrender, but at the cost of over 300,000 civilian casualties.

Missouri Facts, US President Harry Truman
Image from Wikipedia

Edwin Hubble also makes for another historical figure from Missouri, the same astronomer the Hubble Space Telescope took its name. Hubble became the first astronomer to differentiate between nebulas and galaxies. He also developed a method to accurately calculate distances between galaxies. And together with the Belgian priest, physicist, and astronomer Georges Lemaitre, Hubble discovered the redshift phenomenon.

Various celebrities also came from Missouri.

Walt Disney, founder of Disneyland and the Walt Disney Corporation, is one of the most famous of them. Popular author Mark Twain also hailed from Missouri. His many literary contributions such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn earned him the title of “the Father of American Literature”. Singer Sheryl Crow, rapper Nelly, and award-winning actor Brad Pitt also all originally came from Missouri.

The state also participates in various sports.

The Kansas City Chiefs represent the state in the NFL, with the Saint Louis Blues doing the same in the NHL. In major league baseball, Missouri has two different teams, the Saint Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals.

Similarly, the Sporting Kansas City soccer team represents the state in major league soccer. A second team, Saint Louis City SC, will also represent Missouri in major league soccer starting in 2023. Missouri also has representation in women’s soccer, with the Kansas City NWSL soccer team. Historically, when the USA first hosted the Olympic Games in 1904, it did so in Missouri, at Washington University in Saint Louis.