Missouri is one of the most underrated states when it comes to appreciating its natural beauty. From rolling prairies to glittering underground caves there is stunning beauty hiding all around the state. Take a look below for 30 interesting and fascinating facts about Missouri.
1. The Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto reached the Missouri area in 1541.
2. France’s claim to the entire region was based on the French explorer Sieur de la Salle’s expedition down the Mississippi River in 1682.
3. French fur traders established St. Genevieve in 1735, and St. Louis was first settled in 1764.
4. Missouri is a leading lead-producing state. The deposit of the metal fostered the first European settlement in the state in about 1750.
5. 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.
6. The state attained statehood on the 10th of August, 1821, becoming the 24th state to join the union.
7. Missouri is the 18th most populous and the 21st most extensive of the 50 states of the United States.
8. It lies in the Midwestern region of the United States. It shares its border with eight states (Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky).
9. The state’s capital is Jefferson City.
10. Jefferson City, the state’s capital, was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States.
11. Missouri, nicknamed the Show-Me State, has 114 counties.
12. Not everyone agrees on how Missouri got its nickname, the Show-Me State. The most popular legend says the name was coined when a Missouri congressman said “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” His statement meant that actions speak louder than words.
13. Maybe we should call it the Read Me State. Famous Missourian writers include T.S. Eliot, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, and Sara Teasdale.
14. Missouri is the home of many well-known country artists. Leroy Van Dyke, Tyler Farr, and Chris Janson are just a few of the famous country stars that were born or grew up in Missouri.
15. With more than 6,000 known caves, Missouri’s also known as The Cave State.
16. Richland, Missouri, is the only city in the U.S. with a cave restaurant.
17. Missouri was named after a tribe of Sioux Indians called the Missouris. While often mistranslated as “muddy water,” the word actually means “town of the large canoes.”
18. The “Missouri Gazette”, the first newspaper in Missouri, was founded in Missouri in 1808 by Joseph Charles.
19. Between December 16, 1811, and late April 1812, over two-thousand earthquakes tremors occurred on the Mississippi River valley. During this period, three of the strongest earthquakes in U.S. history hit Missouri near New Madrid.
20. Missouri was once an important hub for transportation and commerce in early America.
21. Missouri has the largest beer producing plant in the country as it houses the maker of Budweiser beer–the Anheuser-Busch.
22. Saint Louis University received a formal charter from the state of Missouri in 1832, making it the oldest university west of the Mississippi.
23. Missouri was the westernmost state of the union until the admission of Texas in 1845.
24. Missouri would become home to a historic lawsuit in 1846 when Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom and lost in 1857.
25. A mail delivery system called the “Pony Express” existed between April 1860 and October 1861. The system used nearly 200 relief stations across what is now Missouri and California. Lone horsemen were employed to carry the mails and switch the shipment between the stations. The Pony Express had an average delivery time of just 10 days.
26. During the Civil War, which started in 1861, slavery was legal in Missouri.
27. Ice cream cones made from waffles were first invented in Missouri in the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups to supply the ice cream.
28. The University of Missouri is the first college in the world to grant a journalism degree. It opened on the 14th of September, 1908.
29. The first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.
30. Missouri was home to the most destructive tornado in U.S. history. The Tri-State tornado, which set down on March 18, 1925. It destroyed 90% of Missouri.