• Population- 5,842,713
  • Capital- Jefferson City
  • Largest cities– Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield
  • Time zone- Central
  • Date of Admission to the Union- August 10, 1821
  • Slogan- Salus populi suprema lex esto, or “Let the good of the people be the supreme law”
  • State website URL- www.mo.gov

Missouri typically is categorized as both a Midwestern and a southern state. The region was split on Union and Confederate issues during the Civil War. A small region of the state is called Little Dixie for the influx of southerners that settled there. Famed explorers Lewis and Clark mounted an expedition that led them to discover a large part of the Midwest and upper Western states. Their home base was Missouri. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is one of the tallest historic sites in the United States and thousands of tourists flock to snap photos of this “Gateway to the West” every year. Visitors can also ride to the top of the Arch for a more expansive view.

One of the state’s geographic features is where the famed Mississippi River meets the Missouri River. The state is also the only one of two in the nation that actually touches the borders of eight other states. Tennessee is the other.

Geologically the state is unusual for its lead mines. In the eastern part of Missouri lead mines are commonplace. Joplin, Missouri claims itself the “Lead Capital of the World.” The industry was in its heyday during the early 1900s. Today mines in the area continue to out-produce lead mines anywhere else. Lime production is also big in the state and according to the Mining Industry Council of Missouri, the biggest in the nation. The main mine site is in St. Genevieve.

Sports fans might be acquainted with the longstanding, and legendary, rivalry between the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri, termed the Border Showdown. Each October, Missouri Day is observed. The initial point was to make it a statewide kind of Independence Day, a day during which residents could do something historically significant or learn about the state’s heritage. Branson, Missouri buzzes with tourists thanks to the area’s emphasis on country music. Major music venues in Branson attract top Country entertainers, which in turn draws thousands of tourists annually.

During the early 1900s, ragtime jazz was born. The genre has been largely associated with Scott Joplin. Joplin became a famous ragtime jazz musician after cutting his musical teeth at college in Sedalia, Missouri where he met the musical influences that would shape him and this lively new jazz style.