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History of Missouri


History of Missouri

Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who descended the Mississippi from the north in 1673, supplied the first written accounts of exploration in Missouri. The early Indians in Missouri were the Osages, Sacs, Foxes, Otos, Iowas, Missouris, Miamis, Kickapoos, Delawares, Shawnees and Kansas. Although named for an Indian tribe, today there are no organized tribes left in Missouri. As part of the Louisiana Purchase territory, Missouri has belonged to three nations: France, Spain and the United States. First claimed for France by LaSalle in 1682, Missouri was ceded to Spain in 1762. Although Spain held the country for 40 years, its influence was slight.

The early development of Missouri was closely associated with lead mining. Galena, a lead ore, was first discovered in 1701 near Potosi and began to be mined in earnest in 1720 upon the discovery of significant deposits at Mine La Motte. Mining, the earliest commercial activity in Missouri, lured early French settlers and continues to be a major enterprise today.

It was the French who were responsible for the first permanent settlement of Ste. Genevieve in the mid 1730s. This settlement survived alone in the huge Upper Louisiana Territory until the establishment of St. Louis as a fur trading post in 1764. Because of its excellent location where the Missouri River flows into the Mississippi, St. Louis became the largest settlement in the state and today is one of the nation's larger cities.

By secret treaty in 1802, Spain ceded the Louisiana Territory back to France. Napoleon Bonaparte, anxious to rid himself of the vast and troublesome frontier, sold it to the United States in 1803 for a total of $15,000,000. About this time President Jefferson organized the Lewis and Clark Expedition which was the first extensive exploration of the northwestern part of the new territory. The expedition left St. Louis in 1804.

Missouri was organized as a territory in 1812 and was admitted to the Union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821. Missouri was the second state (after Louisiana) of the Louisiana Purchase to be admitted to the Union.

In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was passed whereby Missouri was to be admitted as a slave state and Maine as a free state. Although admitted as a slave state, Missouri nevertheless remained with the Union throughout the Civil War. At the beginning of the Civil War, most Missourians wanted only to preserve the peace. However, the state governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, was strongly pro southern and attempted to align Missouri with the Confederacy. He and most of the legislature were forced to flee to southern Missouri where they actually passed an ordinance of secession. However, this government was no longer recognized by most Missourians.

The most important and bloodiest battle fought in Missouri was the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield. Other important battles in Missouri were fought at Carthage, Lexington, Westport and Boonville - the first engagement within the state. Missouri contributed 109,000 men to the northern cause while sending at least 30,000 men into the Confederate ranks.

During World War I, Missouri provided 140,257 soldiers, one third being volunteers. Missouri contributed such notable leaders as Gen. John J. Pershing of Laclede, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, and Provost Marshall Enoch H. Crowder of Grundy County who drew up the Selective Service Act.

During World War II, Missouri contributed a total of over 450,000 men and women to the various armed forces. Eighty nine top officers were from Missouri including Gen. Omar N. Bradley of Clark and Moberly and Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle of St. Louis.

The nation's leader during the last year of the war was Lamar born Harry S. Truman, first Missourian to become President of the United States. After assuming office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, President Truman was re elected to a full four year term. His was the fateful decision to use the atom bomb and hasten the Japanese surrender consummated on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Missourians later served in the Korean and Vietnam wars and Dr. Thomas A. Dooley and Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor emerged as noted figures. Like the rest of the country, Missouri has moved toward the 21st century with modernized technology, nuclear energy, transportation, education; progress in civil rights and women's rights; and shifts in the economy and business outlook.

Source: Missouri State Page

Links to more History of Missouri


Article from Encarta - Missouri History Missouri- Physical Geography, Economic Activites, Education and Cultural Institutions, The People of Missouri, Recreation, Government, and History

Gephardt's Missouri Facts Some fun facts and figures about the Show Me State

History of Missouri State Capitols Pillars of the State: A History the State Capitols

Important Dates in Missouri History

Missouri 1824-1827 Gottfried Duden, Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America: Written during a stay of several years along the Missouri, 1824-1827.

Missouri Timeline History of Missouri and Brief Timeline

Quick Facts about Missouri Quick, basic facts about Missouri including links for further information

Short History of Missouri History of Missouri from Missouri State Department of Economic Development

Stately Knowledge - Missouri Just the Fact - Trivia and Famous Missourians

A Trip Across Missouri - 1930's Across 1930s Missouri from Missouri: A Guide to the "Show Me" State, compiled by the workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Missouri, 1941

Visit to Missouri's Rich History A journey through time - Intriguing museums, historic structures and living-history communities

Early History

French and Spanish Explorers in S.E. Missouri

Lewis & Clark Journey in Early Missouri The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Ethnic History

African American History in Missouri Lists historical records available at the Missouri State Archives and Bibliography

The Dred Scott Decision Dred Scott was the name of an African-American slave. He was taken by his master, an officer in the U.S. Army, from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois and then to the free territory of Wisconsin

Glimpses of the African American Presence in Missouri

Preservation Issues: Various articles

Resources from the St. Louis Public Library

Slave Narratives Transcripts compiled from the WPA Writer's Projects, 1936-1938.

Timeline This timeline reflects local history for Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas

Underground Railroad Abolitionist John Brown frequently used Iowa stops to and from skirmishes in Missouri and Kansas. He spent the entire winter of 1857-58 at The Traveler's Rest, a tavern in West Branch.


History of Germans in Missouri A Brief History Of Germans In Missouri

New Missourians from Europe

Peopling St. Louis - German immigration

Native Americans

Cherokee Nation - Old Lousiana Territory Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory Southeast Missouri Office Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

The first children

History of Native Americans in Southeast Missouri

Missouri's Children

American families establish themselves

Orphans Trains to Missouri As an "orphan train" crossed the country, it left part of its cargo at each stop, a few children in one small town and a few in another

The Progressive Era

Areas of Missouri

Bootheel of Missouri How Did The Boundary of Missouri Come To Include The "Bootheel"?

The Missouri River Heritage Corridor Pick a train and discover links to native American history and African-American history + much more!

Tales of Southwestern Missouri Silas Turnbo manuscripts are a collection of approximately eight hundred short tales, stories and vignettes that reflect life along the White River Valley in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri during the latter half of the 19th century.

Civil War and Reconstruction

The Civil War

Reconstruction Taken from: The Role of the Negro in Missouri History Official Manual of State of Missouri

The Reconstruction Period Taken from: The Role of the Negro in Missouri History (from: Official Manual of State of Missouri)


History of Missouri Winemaking Wine-making has a venerable, 150-year history in Missouri.

History of the Missouri Pacific Railroad

History of Route 66 - Missouri History of Route 66 and why it was built

Katy Railroad Historical Home Page Website for fans of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and the Katy Railroad Historical Society

Missouri's Newspapers Missouri Newspapers Date Back to 1808

Churches & Religion

Bend of the River: The Mormon strife

Church History 1831-1844 in Missouri Mormon Church History c. 1831-1844, Ohio, Missouri, And Nauvoo Periods

Mormon History - Missouri Period History of Mormons while in Missouri

Colonial Missouri

Attack on Old St. Louis

French Families arrive

Papers of the St. Louis Fur Trade The Couteau Collection, 1752-1925 & Fur Company Ledgers and Account Books, 1802-1871

Pioneer Life

The Honey War of Missouri Missouri and Iowa Border dispute

I have talked with Grandma Handy

Journal of Rose Wilder Lane

St Louis and the American West

William Tipton Seely Comes to Missouri

History of Missouri State Government

Missouri's First Vote

Missouri State Troopers - Various Articles Many articles from Missouri State Trooper Magazine: Bonnie & Clyde, Providing Protection for Officials, and Hesston Tornado