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groups of Native American Indians lived in the Missouri region when
European explores first arrived. The
largest of these included the Missouri and Osage tribes.
Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet were the first white people to
see the Missouri River in 1673. In
1682, René-Robert Cavelier traveled down the Mississippi River and
claimed the entire Mississippi Valley for France.
This land, that included Missouri, was named Louisiana after King
fur traders built trading posts along the Missouri River.
Missionaries established St. Francis Xavier, the first white
settlement of Missouri. It
was located near present-day St. Louis, but was deserted in 1703.
Missouri’s first permanent settlement, Ste. Genevieve, was
established in 1735.
1762, the Louisiana Territory came under Spanish control.
Although few Spaniards settled Missouri, many U.S. miners and
farmers entered from Mississippi. In
1800, France reclaimed the Louisiana Territory and in 1803, sold it to the
United States. The Missouri Territory was organized in 1812.
people flooded into Missouri, Native Americans grew angry and began
raiding settlements. During
the War of 1812, Britain supplied the Indians with weapons and encouraged
them to attack Missouri settlements.
Not until 1815 did the attacks end with a peace treaty at Portage
des Sioux. By 1825, few
Native Americans lived in Missouri.
for statehood started in 1818, but questions concerning slavery in the
state were not settled until 1820. The
Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state
while Maine became a free state. This
kept the number of slave and free states equal.
Missouri became the 24th state on Aug. 10, 1821.
trade continued as an important industry in Missouri during the mid-1800s.
The American Fur Company organized in St. Louis in 1822 and soon
developed a monopoly on all fur trade west of the Mississippi River.
Trade with Mexico was very successful.
The Santa Fe Trail connected Independence with the Southwest.
Independence also marked the beginning of the Oregon Trail that led
thousands to the Pacific Northwest.
1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott Decision that slaves
were considered property. This
historic decision increased tension between the North and the South.
Kansas, located on Missouri’s western border, became a free state
in 1861. Fighting between
Kansas and Missouri began and continued into the Civil War.
1861, a convention was called to determine whether Missouri would secede
from the Union. Although the
majority voted to support the Union, Governor Claiborne Jackson refused to
send troops at the request of President Lincoln.
Jackson led the state militia against Union troops at the Battle of
militia was forced to southern Missouri where they defeated Union troops
at Wilson’ Creek. Shortly
after, the state convention met again to remove all pro-Confederate state
leaders from office.
the war, St. Louis and Kansas City became important railroad centers.
Outlaws held up banks, stagecoaches, and trains.
Jesse James terrorized the state for over 20 years until he was
killed by one of his own gang in 1882.
In 1904, St. Louis hosted the World’s Fair and the Olympics.
The following year laws were passed that required inspection of
working conditions and regulation of child labor and public utilities in
World War I (1914-1918), Missouri’s industries expanded to help supply
war materials. John Pershing
of Linn County was named commander in chief of the U.S. forces in France.
The Great Depression (1929-1939) caused more than 200,000
Missourians to lose their jobs and some to lose their land.
The federal government established programs to help bring
employment to Missouri. World
War II (1939-1945) also revived the economy as factories again opened to
provide war materials.
industries moved to Missouri during the 1950s.
A uranium-processing plant opened in Weldon Spring, electronic
plants were built in Joplin, and factories in St. Louis and Neosho began
producing parts for spacecrafts. Economic
growth continued through the 1960s. State
leaders encouraged tourism and the expansion of mining throughout the
encountered serious pollution problems in the early 1980s.
Contamination threatened ground water supplies and poisonous
substances were discovered in Times Beach.
The federal government is striving to help Missouri clean these
areas. As urban problems
became serious, St. Louis and Kansas City rebuilt their riverfronts.
Missouri was also faced with financial problems.
In 1986, a state lottery was established to help with education,
welfare, and environmental programs.