Missouri, abbreviated MO or Mo., is a state of the Midwest in the United States, on both sides of the Missouri River’s lower course. The state borders north to Iowa, east to Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, south to Arkansas, and west to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Missouri has a total area of 180 546 km2 and has 6,113,532 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Jefferson City.
The name Missouri is really the name of a indigenous community by the Missouri River, possibly composed of ojibwa missi, ‘big’, and uri, ‘mud’, and then refers to the river’s muddy water. Can also mean ‘canoe river’ and in that case is derived from algonkin misulite, ‘canoe people’, used about the Dakota people who came down the river in canoes. The state is also known by the nickname Show Me State.
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The land north of the Missouri River is a rolling, fertile prairie, covered with ice deposits and lice. The southwestern part of the state is also a plain land, but the southeast one is characterized by the up to 540 meters high Ozark Plateau.
The climate is humid continental, in the southeast humid subtropical. St. Louis has an average temperature of 0 °C for January, 26 °C for July. The annual rainfall is around 850–1250 mm. Missouri is in the so-called “Tornado Alley,”a belt where tornadoes are very frequent. The original vegetation was prairie grasses in the north and west, and forests of oak and hickory in the southeast. 35 percent of the area is wooded and 36 percent cultivated land.
Missouri’s population increased by 2.1 percent in the period 2010-17 (against the national average of 5.5 percent). The nation’s population center “crossed” for the first time in Mississippi in 1980, and is located in southeastern Missouri. Of the population, 79.5 per cent are white, 11.8 per cent black and 4.2 per cent Hispanic (US Census, 2017). 70.4 per cent of the population lives in cities or urban areas (2010). Largest cities are Kansas City and St. Louis.
Missouri sends two senators and nine representatives to the federal congress in Washington DC.
Agriculture has good production conditions throughout Missouri. Large quantities of soybeans, maize and wheat are grown. Large animal husbandry (cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys). Missouri is a major producer of lead and zinc, otherwise iron ore, coal and limestone are mined.
The industry is the most important trade route, with the transport industry (manufacturing of cars and aerospace equipment), the food and beverage industry and the machine industry.
Among the institutions of higher education are the State University, founded in 1839 with departments in Columbia, Rolla, St. Louis and Kansas City, and the privately run Washington University (St. Louis) and St. Louis University.
Missouri was explored by Frenchmen from 1673 and colonized from 1735. The area came to the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, was organized as territory in 1812, and admitted as a state in 1821 by the Missouri Compromise , which allowed slave holdings. The southern border of the state (36 ° 30ʹ north latitude) was to be the northern boundary of slavery for any new states.
During the American Civil War, Missouri was divided and was the scene of many battles, but remained in the Union. Later, the state became the starting point for the colonization to the west, based on Independence and St. Louis.