The first European settlers were mostly French Canadians, who migrated about 1750 from east of the river to the area of present-day Ste. Genevieve. It was the first European settlement in Missouri. They came from colonial villages on the east side of the Mississippi of the Illinois Country, where soils were becoming exhausted and there was insufficient river bottom land for the growing population. St Louis was also founded by French-Canadian settlers. St Louis became the center of a regional fur trade, which dominated its economy for decades. Ste Genevieve was a thriving agricultural center, producing enough surplus wheat, corn and tobacco to ship tons of grain downriver to Lower Louisiana for trade. Grain production in the Illinois Country was critical to the survival of Lower Louisiana. courtesy Wikipedia
Part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase by the United States, Missouri earned the nickname "Gateway to the West" because it served as a major departure point for expeditions and settlers heading to the West in the 19th century. The St. Louis area was the starting point and the return destination of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which explored the western territories to the Pacific Ocean. The territory was admitted as a slave state in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise. River traffic and trade along the Mississippi were integral to the state's economy. To try to control regular flooding of farmland and low-lying villages, by 1860 the state had completed construction of 140 miles (230 km) of levees on the Mississippi. courtesy Wikipedia
Originally the state's western border was a straight line, defined as the meridian passing through the Kawsmouth, the point where the Kansas River enters the Missouri River. The river has moved since this designation. This line is known as the Osage Boundary. In 1836 the Platte Purchase was added to the northwest corner of the state after purchase of the land from the native tribes, making the Missouri River the border north of the Kansas River. This addition increased the land area of what was already the largest state in the Union at the time (about 66,500 square miles (172,000 km2) to Virginia's 65,000 square miles (which then included West Virginia.) . courtesy Wikipedia
Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state in August 10, 1821. courtesy Wikipedia
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