Tags: US State Facts | Missouri History | Louis and Clark Expedition | The Missouri Compromise | The Gateway Arch

Missouri History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM

Missouri history is closely tied with the western expansion of the United States. As a part of the Louisiana Purchase territory, it was the jumping off point for explorers, settlers and visionaries who made this country what it is today.

Here are eight events that helped shape Missouri's history:

1. French Fur Trappers Came: The Mississippi River running on the eastern edge of the state brought the first European settlements as early as the mid-1700s. In 1764, the first two permanent European settlements were founded in the area that would become Missouri. St. Genevieve was a base for French hunters and miners. Further north along the Mississippi River, St. Louis was founded the same year as a fur trading post.

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2. Louis and Clark Explore: The land that would become the state of Missouri was a part of the Louisiana Purchase. The first official exploration of this land rode up the Missouri River, setting off from St. Louis in May of 1804. The Louis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition sought a passage to the Pacific. They would return two years later to Missouri.

3. The New Madrid Earthquake: Dec. 16, 1811 brought the first of four large earthquakes that would go down in Missouri history as the most powerful to ever hit the eastern part of the United States. The epicenter of the quake was near what is now New Madrid, Missouri in the southern "boot heel" of the state. The tremors from these quakes caused waterfalls on the Mississippi River and were felt as far as Quebec.

4. The Missouri Compromise: Missouri tried to enter the Union during a tumultuous time in American history. The Missouri Compromise agreement allowed for Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state to keep the balance of free and slave states in the Union. Missouri became the 24th state in the Union in 1821. That same year, Missouri became the jumping off point for the Santa Fe Trail.

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5. World's Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition opened in St. Louis to showcase art, industry and science at the advent of the 20th century. It also marked the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. The fair grounds were constructed by over 10,000 workers in a 1,200 acre park. It told the story of American progress since the Louisiana Purchase and gave the opportunity for many foreign nations to display their nation history and technology. The fair was also host to the 1904 summer Olympic games. This was the first time the games were hosted in the United States.

6. Bagnell Dam: Bagnell Dam was completed in 1931 as a flood control project. The dam formed the Lake of the Ozarks, which is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world and a major center of sport and tourism for the state. The lake has about 1,400 miles of shoreline.

7. The Gateway Arch: In 1965 the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was completed. The arch was built to symbolize the role St. Louis played in the western expansion of the country. The gateway arch is now part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

8. The Great Flood: In 1993, large floods made Missouri history. Throughout the state and much of the mid-west, waters on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers expanded and permanently altered the landscape. The flood cost $15 billion in damages.

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Missouri history is closely tied with the western expansion of the United States. As a part of the Louisiana Purchase territory, it was the jumping off point for explorers, settlers and visionaries who made this country what it is today.
Missouri History, Louis and Clark Expedition, The Missouri Compromise, The Gateway Arch
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2015-32-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM
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