Governor: Eric Greitens, R(to Jan. 2021)
Lieut. Governor: Mike Parson, R (to Jan. 2021)
Senators: Roy Blunt, R (to Jan. 2023); Claire McCaskill, D (to Jan. 2019)
Organized as territory: June 4, 1812
Entered Union (rank): Aug. 10, 1821 (24)
Present constitution adopted: 1945
Motto: Salus populi suprema lex esto (The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law)
Nickname: Show-me State
Origin of name: Named after the Missouri Indian tribe. ?Missouri? means ?town of the large canoes.?
10 largest cities (2012): Kansas City, 464,310; St. Louis, 318,172; Springfield, 162,191; Independence, 117,270; Columbia, 113,225; Lee's Summit, 92,468; O'Fallon, 81,979; St. Joseph, 77,176; St. Charles, 66,463; St. Peter's, 54,078
Land area: 68,886 sq mi. (178,415 sq km)
Geographic center: In Miller Co., 20 mi. SW of Jefferson City
Number of counties: 114, plus 1 independent city
Largest county by population and area: St. Louis, 991,830 (2008); Texas, 1,179 sq mi.
Conservation areas1: leased, 315 (197, 661 ac.); owned, 775 (770,574 ac.)
State parks and historic sites: 81
2015 resident population: 6,083,672
2010 resident census population (rank): 5,988,927 (18). Male: 2,933,477; Female: 3,055,450. White: 4,958,770 (86.54%); Black: 693,391(12.04%); American Indian: 27,376 (1.03%); Asian: 98,083 (1.61%); Other race: 80,457; Two or more races: 124,589; Hispanic/Latino: 212,470. 2010 population 18 and over: 4,563,491; 65 and over: 838,294 median age: 37.6.
1. Includes wildlife areas, natural history areas, state forests, and tower sites.
Hernando de Soto visited the Missouri area in 1541. France's claim to the entire region was based on Sieur de la Salle's travels in 1682. French fur traders established Ste. Genevieve in 1735, and St. Louis was first settled in 1764.
The U.S. gained Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the territory was admitted as a state following the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Throughout the pre?Civil War period and during the war, Missourians were sharply divided in their opinions about slavery and in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops. However, the state itself remained in the Union.
Historically, Missouri played a leading role as a gateway to the West, St. Joseph being the eastern starting point of the Pony Express, while the much-traveled Santa Fe and Oregon trails began in Independence.
Missouri's economy is highly diversified. Service industries provide more income and jobs than any other segment, and include a growing tourism and travel sector. Wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, and agriculture also play significant roles in the state's economy.
Missouri is a leading producer of transportation equipment (including automobile manufacturing and auto parts), beer and beverages, and defense and aerospace technology. Food processing is the state's fastest-growing industry.
Missouri mines produce 90% of the nation's principal (non-recycled) lead supply. Other natural resources include iron ore, zinc, barite, limestone, and timber.
The state's top agricultural products include grain, sorghum, hay, corn, soybeans, and rice. Missouri also ranks high among the states in cattle and calves, hogs, and turkeys and broilers. A vibrant wine industry also contributes to the economy.
Tourism draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to a number of Missouri points of interest: the country-music shows of Branson; Bass Pro Shops national headquarters (Springfield); the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion (St. Louis); Mark Twain's boyhood home (Hannibal); the Harry S. Truman home and library (Independence); the scenic beauty of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways; and the Pony Express and Jesse James museums (St. Joseph). The state's different lake regions also attract fishermen and sun-seekers from throughout the Midwest.
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Selected famous natives and residents:
- Robert Altman film director;
- Burt Bacharach songwriter;
- Josephine Baker singer and dancer;
- Wallace Beery actor;
- Robert Russell Bennett composer;
- Yogi Berra baseball player;
- Thomas Hart Benton painter;
- Susan Elizabeth Blow educator;
- Bill Bradley basketball player and N.J. senator;
- Omar N. Bradley general;
- Grace Bumbry soprano;
- William Burroughs writer;
- Sarah Caldwell opera director and conductor;
- Martha Jane Canary (Calamity Jane) frontierswoman;
- George Washington Carver scientist;
- Don Cheadle actor;
- Walter Cronkite TV newscaster;
- Sheryl Crow singer;
- Robert Cummings actor;
- Jane Darwell actress;
- Walt Disney artist;
- Jeanne Eagels actress;
- T. S. Eliot poet;
- Eugene Field poet;
- Redd Foxx actor and comedian;
- Betty Grable actress;
- Dick Gregory comic and activist;
- Jean Harlow actress;
- Coleman Hawkins jazz musician;
- George Hearn actor;
- Al Hirschfeld artist;
- Edwin Hubble astronomer;
- Langston Hughes poet;
- John Huston film director;
- Jesse James outlaw;
- Scott Joplin composer;
- Rush Limbaugh radio talk show host;
- Bernarr MacFadden physical culturist;
- Mary Margaret McBride TV hostess;
- Marianne Moore poet;
- Geraldine Page actress;
- James C. Penney merchant;
- Marlin Perkins TV host, zoo director;
- John Joseph Pershing general;
- Vincent Price actor;
- Joseph Pulitzer journalist;
- Doris Roberts actress;
- Ginger Rogers dancer and actress;
- Ted Shawn dancer and choreographer;
- Casey Stengel baseball player;
- Gladys Swarthout soprano;
- Sara Teasdale poet;
- Virgil Thomson composer;
- Harry S. Truman president;
- Mark Twain author;
- Dick Van Dyke actor;
- Ruth Warrick actress;
- Dennis Weaver actor;
- Pearl White actress;
- Mary Wickes actress;
- Laura Ingalls Wilder author;
- Roy Wilkins civil rights leader.