Missouri Becomes 24th State 

U.S. #1426 pictures a Pawnee Indian facing a hunter-trapper and settlers.

On August 10, 1821, President James Monroe signed legislation adding Missouri to the Union as our 24th state.

Long before Europeans came to Missouri, a group of Indians known as the Mound Builders constructed large earthworks throughout the region. Many of these mounds can still be found there. However, this culture had disappeared by the time of European exploration.

The first European explorers in Missouri found Missouri Indians living in the east-central portion of the state, the Osage in the south and west, and the Fox, Sauk and other tribes living in the north.

U.S. #3585 pictures the St. Louis skyline, the Gateway Arch, a lake in the Ozarks, and white hawthorn blossoms.

The French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were probably the first white people to see the mouth of the Missouri River. In 1673, they discovered the point where the Missouri joins the mighty Mississippi River. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, sailed down the Mississippi in 1682 and claimed the entire river valley for France. He named it Louisiana, in honor of King Louis XIV.

Soon after, Frenchmen involved with the fur-trading business began to settle in the region, founding trading posts along the river. Around 1700, Jesuit missionaries founded the first European settlement in Missouri, the Mission of St. Francis Xavier, near today’s St. Louis. This mission was abandoned three years later due to its proximity to an unhealthful swamp. Settlers from what is now Illinois founded the first permanent white settlement at Ste. Genevieve. In 1764, Pierre Laclède Liguest and René Auguste Chouteau founded St. Louis.

In 1762, France sold to Spain all of its land west of the Mississippi. Spain encouraged many settlers in the East to take land in Missouri. Among these pioneers was the legendary Daniel Boone. In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte of France forced Spain to give these lands back to France. Then, to raise badly needed funds, Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803.

U.S. #4301 pictures the Missouri flag and a paddleboat on a river.

When the U.S. took ownership of Missouri, most of the land had already been explored. Many communities had already been founded, and farming and mineral industries had been developed. Missouri was made a part of Upper Louisiana; then, in 1812, the Missouri Territory was organized.

As settlers began to pour into Missouri, they also took the traditional hunting grounds of the Indians in the area. The Indians started staging raids against the settlers. When the War of 1812 broke out, the British armed the Indians in Missouri and encouraged them to attack white settlements. These attacks continued even after the conclusion of the war. Peace finally came to the region in 1815, with the treaty at Portage des Sioux.

Missouri first asked to be granted statehood in 1818. At that time, the country was becoming divided by the practice of slavery and its expansion into new territories. These disputes delayed Missouri’s statehood until Congress passed the Missouri Compromise. Under this law, Missouri entered the Union as a slave state on August 10, 1821. The state’s population was 66,586 people – 10,222 of which were slaves. In 1836, the U.S. bought the area of Platte County from the Indians and expanded the state’s territory, making the Missouri River its western border.

U.S. #1656 – The Missouri flag includes a pair of bears, to represent strength and bravery, as well as a belt buckle, signifying that the state could leave the Union if it wanted.

Missouri represented America’s western frontier. Before the American Civil War, the state’s fur industry was its main source of revenue. Trade from the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails also enriched it.

Even before the Civil War began, Missouri had become involved in armed conflict over slavery, when clashes with anti-slavery families from Kansas erupted. This fighting between individuals and families continued well into the Civil War.

In 1861, the nation focused its attention on Missouri to see if it would leave the Union. The governor, Claiborne F. Jackson, held a state convention to determine the will of the people. Despite its pro-slavery leadership, the convention voted to remain in the Union, but remain neutral in any fighting.

U.S. #994 pictures a rustic scene of 1850 Westport as well as the modern 1950s skyline of Kansas City.

In April of 1861, President Abraham Lincoln asked Missouri for troops, and Missouri refused. This led to the first real fighting of the Civil War in the state. The Union soon came to control the northern portion of the state, while the Confederates held on to the south. In 1864, Union forces won a decisive victory near today’s Kansas City, which ended all full-scale fighting in the state. However, guerrilla forces on both sides continued to terrorize the countryside.

After the war, Missouri began to change at a rapid pace. St. Louis and Kansas City became important travel centers. The fur trade lost its profitability. Industry began to grow. In 1904, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held in St. Louis. It attracted nearly 20 million visitors from all over the U.S. and around the world. One of the popular exhibitions at the exposition featured automobiles.

With the start of World War I, Missouri’s mining and manufacturing businesses flourished. Bagnell Dam, an important hydroelectric power source, was completed in 1931. This growth continued through World War II. In the 1950s, high-technology companies began to spread throughout the state. The discovery of large iron deposits during the 1960s also brought Missouri increased revenue.

U.S. #1977 pictures the state bird and flower – the eastern bluebird and red hawthorn.

The state’s farms were among those hit by the farming crisis of the 1980s. Urban decay and environmental problems also surfaced at that time. However, the state’s economy remains strong. It remains a leader in the production of livestock, soybeans, corn, wheat, and cotton. The state’s aerospace industry has done especially well, and it continues to expand.

Tourism has provided a huge economic boost for Missouri. Each year, tourists spend a billion dollars in the state. St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield have outstanding facilities to serve as convention centers for business, religious, and political organizations.

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  1. The history of Missouri, a Sioux word referring to ‘people of wooden canoes’, from early days, to modern times, is long and eventful.

    Flowing north from the hills of Montana, the Missouri river joins the mighty Mississippi just north of St Louis, making this the third longest river in the world; and served as theatre of war, time and again, for Europeans marching their troupes against each other in the name of business (fur trade), colonization (land grab), indoctrination (religion), and of course liberty-fraternity-egality (democracy?).

    St Louis was named after a boy king of France in the 1200s who later ended up crusading (wreaking ravage) on people in the Middle East, including staying four years in Syria (sounds familiar?). In the 1700s, the village of St Louis was a few hundred strong, and prospered primarily as a trading hub on the Mississippi River. It was also the administrative capital of Upper Spanish Louisiana, governed by Fernando de Leyba.

    After being warned in March 1780 about an impending British attack on St Louis, and the nearby American-held post at Cahokia (Illinois) on the opposite side of the river, de Leyba asked the villagers to contribute funds and labor for the construction of fortifications around the village (Fort San Carlos), and apparently paid for some of the work from his private funds.

    With overwhelming superiority, the British party made up of militia and native forces were expected to overun de Leyba’s 197 men, 168 of which were inexperienced militia. de Leyba then sent out a sentry to contact a 70 year old Frenchman, Francois Valle, located 60 miles to the South of the fort at the site of the French Colonial Valles Mines. Valle’s two sons and 151 well trained and equipped militia men eventually turned up and tipped the scale in favor of the defenders.

    On the other side of the river, the timely arrival of US George Rogers Clark to lead its defense played a pivotal role. Clark’s reputation as a frontier fighter made the native force reluctant to pursue the attack further.

    By Royal Decree on April 1, 1782, King Carlos III of Spain, conferred upon Francois Valle the rank of lieutenant in the regular Spanish army, thus making him a Spanish don; and as a result of his contributions, Francois Valle was called the “Defender of St. Louis”.

    The site where Fort San Carlos stood is at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets in St Louis. A local organization annually commemorates the battle by reading the names of 21 people who lost their lives in the battle which today is also remembered in a mural and diorama located in the Missouri State Capitol. GdR

  2. I wish they would stop focusing on the slavery. That is not the main reason they fought, the confederates had the freedom of thier slaves in thier consitution.

    1. What are you talking about? Are you saying slavery was not the issue? They fought over something else?

  3. You should read the constitutoin for the confederates. I am not saying slavery was not an issue. I am saying it was not the MAIN issue. The reason Lincon could use slaves was because the confederates constitutoin was not active yet and could not be active until the confederaterates won. Which they did not so it never came into play and seems to be forgotten. Politics is something to fighg over too.

  4. Of course the South fought to protect slavery. Read the comments in the southern newspapers during the secession debates, or the comments in the secession conventions, or the Confederate constitution…they all stress the central point…slavery. The so-called “states rights” argument was developed years later when both the North and South wanted to forget about slavery.

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