Nestled between eight states near the geographical center of the U.S., is the state of Missouri. Known for its grassy plains, Ozark Mountains, and towering Gateway Arch, the Show-Me state has quite a lot to show. It’s the central meeting place for the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Missouri River, the largest river in North America, runs west to east from Kansas City to St. Louis, where it converges with the Mississippi River that runs north to south.

If you’re learning about U.S. history and geography, the Time4Learning series of United States unit study supplements will take the guesswork out of what to teach. In this state study, you’ll find information on MO’s geography, history, as well as discover field trip destinations and educational activities in the state. Also included are learning games that allow you to test your child’s knowledge of state facts and you can download our list of PreK-12 interactive activities that align with your study of interesting facts about Missouri.

Missouri Fast Facts

Became a State August 10, 1821
Order it Joined the Union 24th state
State Capital Jefferson City
State Abbreviation MO
Border States
State Flag Missouri Flag
State Song The Missouri Waltz
State Flower White Hawthorn Blossom
State Nickname
  • The Show-Me State
Notable Missourians
  • Maya Angelou, poet
  • Harry S. Truman, 33rd president
  • Mark Twain, author
  • Chuck Berry, singer
  • T.S. Eliot, Nobel Prize-winning poet
  • Edwin Hubble, astronomer
  • Langston Hughes, poet

Historical Facts About Missouri

The history of Missouri begins thousands of years ago when Native American tribes such as Osage, Missouria and the Otoe settled in the region. It was in the late 1600s, when Europeans first arrived in the state.

Missouri became a central hub of trade and transportation. Mining attracted early French settlers to the area and they eventually created the first permanent settlement in the state in the mid-1730s, Ste. Genevieve. In 1764, St. Louis became a fur trading post. Its location and proximity to both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers made it one of the largest settlements in the state.

In 1803, the United States acquired the state from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase, making Missouri part of the Louisiana Territory. In 1812, the area was renamed the Missouri Territory to avoid confusion with the newly founded state of Louisiana. In 1818, Missouri requested statehood. A few years later, President James Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise, which brought Missouri into the Union as a slave state.

Before the Civil War, Missouri had entered the Union as a slave state. However, during the war, the majority of the state was pro-Union.  Missouri had 109,000 men fighting for the north, while 30,000 fought for the Confederacy. With two opposing sides, there were many conflicts within the state such as the Battle of Wilson’s Creek near Springfield.

Below is a timeline with additional historical facts about Missouri that highlights important dates as well as interesting facts about the Show-Me State.

1682

Robert de la Salle arrived in Missouri and claimed the area for France.

1803

The Louisiana Purchase was signed on April 30, which included Missouri.

1804

The Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis to explore the northwest.

1812

A portion of the Territory of Louisiana became the Territory of Missouri on June 4th.

1818

Missouri requests statehood to Congress.

1820

The Missouri Compromise settled a dispute between slave states and free states. It allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state.

1821

Missouri is admitted to the Union as the 24th state on August 10 with St. Charles as the capital.

1826

Jefferson City becomes the capital of Missouri.

1835

Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), is born in Florida, Missouri on Nov 30th.

1857

The Missouri Compromise was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court during the Dred Scott v Sandford case.

1860

The Pony Express mail service began its 1,900-mile route in St. Joseph and traveled west all the way to Sacramento, California.

1873

The first public kindergarten in the nation was opened in St. Louis by Susan Elizabeth Blow.

1889

One of the most important astronomers of all time, Edwin Hubble, is born in Marshfield on November 20th.

1896

A tornado struck St. Louis, killing over 250 people and causing millions in damage.

1919

Missouri grants suffrage to women when they became the 11th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

1928

The first packaged sliced bread was introduced by the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, the “home of sliced bread’.

1945

Missouri-born Harry S. Truman became president after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1967

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis opened to the public. It is 630 feet tall, making it the tallest man-made national monument in the U.S.

2011

An EF-5 tornado struck the southwest town of Joplin, devastating the area and killing 158 people, injuring over 1,100, and causing over $2 billion in damages. It was the deadliest tornado to strike the U.S. since 1947.

Bring history and geography to life with Time4Learning’s interactive online social studies curriculum for grades 2-12.

Geographical Facts About Missouri

Along with Tennessee, Missouri is bordered by eight states, the most by any state.  Missouri ranks 21st in area with over 69,000 square miles. As far as population is concerned, the mid-western state ranks 18th in the country with approximately 6.1 million people.

Missouri is made up of 114 counties. The largest city is Kansas City, located on the western edge of the state near the border with Kansas.  In 2017, its population was almost 489,000.

Does your homeschooler know where Missouri is? This map of the state will help your child pinpoint important cities and landmarks, and help them become more familiar with the Show-Me State. You can then use this printable U.S. map and have your child try to locate the state.

  • Taum Sauk Mountain, near the southeast portion of the state, is the highest point at 1,772 ft.
  • The central point in Missouri is located 20 miles southwest of Jefferson City.
  • Missouri is located in an area of the U.S. known as Tornado Alley,
  • Also known as ‘the cave state’, Missouri is home to over 6,000 caves.
  • The southeastern corner of the state is called the bootheel because of its shape.
  • The St. Francois Mountain range, part of the Ozark Plateau, is in southeast Missouri.
  • Marvel Cave is one of the largest caves in the state. It is located in the southwest, near Branson.
  • The Bagnell Dam in Miller County near the center of the state impounds the Osage River. The dam is 148-feet tall and 2,543-feet long.

Missouri State Map

Download our FREE Missouri state map printable. Use it as a coloring page or use it to plot the state’s geographical features.

Download

Activities for Children in Missouri

If you homeschool in the state of Missouri, there are tons of things for the Show-Me State to show your family. Expand on this Missouri facts unit study by giving your child the opportunity to see many of the state’s museums, parks, and other attractions. Below are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Gateway Arch (St. Louis) – Not for the faint of heart, this 630-foot tall structure will give your child a bird-eye’s view of St. Louis, the Mississippi River and more. Be sure to visit the museum and its six, themed exhibits to learn about the Arch and its history. Although you have to buy tickets to the ride to the top, you can visit the museum free of charge.
  • National WWI Museum and Memorial (Kansas City) – America’s official museum dedicated to WWI, this museum first opened to the public in 1926 as the Liberty Memorial. Visitors can learn the story of the war through two main galleries, theaters, a research center, and more. A number of programs and resources are available for families.
  • Bonne Terre Mine (Bonne Terre) – This national historic site is the world’s largest freshwater dive resort. If you’re the adventurous kind and are certified, you can scuba dive, otherwise, take an underground boat and walking tour to explore the mine out of the water.
  • Old St. Louis County Courthouse (St. Louis) – Part of the Gateway Arch National Park, this historic courthouse has been around since the 19th century. Visitor can explore restored courtrooms and learn about significant moments in St. Louis’ past, as well as important trials that took place at the courthouse.
  • The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (Kansas City) – Established in 1982, this 33,000-square foot, 38-room museum has a whopping collection of over 300,000 items. It is also home to the world’s largest collection of marbles. Visitors can explore the numerous exhibits through either a self-guided or guided tours.

Missouri  Freebies and Deals for Homeschoolers

  • Missouri History Museum (St. Louis) – Learn historical facts about the St. Louis area at this free museum. Exhibits vary throughout the year, however, continuing exhibits include Seeking St. Louis and The 1904 World’s Fair.
  • Hallmark Visitors Center (Kansas City) – Learn how the world’s largest greeting cards are brought to life on a self-guided tour. Visitors will find works of art, a collection of Christmas trees, and popular keepsake ornaments. Take a star-shaped bow home as a souvenir after watching the bow machine create is right before your eyes.
  • The Money Museum (Kansas City) – Learn about the economy, the Federal Reserve, and all things money through a number of exhibits and tours.  Visitors can design their own currency and even take home some shredded money as a souvenir.
  • Ha Ha Tonka State Park (Camdenton) – Hike the ruins of a stone castle, walk the trails and boardwalks, or have a picnic in the lake area. This state park also features a natural bridge, sinkholes, and caves.
  • Branson Landing (Branson) – Take a walk on the scenic boardwalk in this popular tourist destination. Don’t miss the daily fountain show complete with music and special effects. Concerts and special events take place year round. Plus there are dozens of options for dining and shopping.

Missouri Learning Games for Children

Use the fun learning games below to teach your child even more Missouri facts. With several games to choose from, students can continue to learn about the Show-Me State while they practice their spelling, unscramble words, and play crossword games.

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