30 Missouri Facts: Important Facts About Missouri

Last updated on May 8th, 2019

Missouri is the 18th most populous and the 21st most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the Midwestern region of the United States. The state attained statehood on August 10, 1821, becoming the 24th state to join the union. It shares its border with eight (8) states (Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky.) See the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. Missouri (nicknamed: the Show-Me State) has 114 counties. The state’s capital is Jefferson City. With these facts about Missouri, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.     

1. Human settlement has been recorded in the region for at least 12,000 years ago.[1]

Missouri and its border states
Missouri (in red) on the map with bordering states.

2. Did you know that between December 16, 1811, and late April 1812, over two-thousand earthquakes tremors occurred on the Mississippi River valley? During this period, three of the strongest earthquakes (between 7.5 and 8.8 on today’s Richter Scale) in U.S. history hit Missouri near New Madrid. The earthquake caused a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, actually making the river run backward for several hours.[15,16]

3. The name of the state the “Show Me State” came into being when Missouri Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, in an 1899 speech in Philadelphia, said, “For thy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

4. Missouri was once an important hub for transportation and commerce in early America.[2]

Flag of Missouri

Flag of Missouri5. The state is sometimes called “the Mother of the West.”[1]

6. Did you know that a mail delivery system called the “Pony Express” existed between April 1860 and October 1861? The system used nearly 200 relief stations across what is now Missouri and California. Lone horsemen were employed to carry the mails and switch the shipment between the stations. The relay system enabled the mail to cross the frontier in record time. The Pony Express had an average delivery time of just 10 days. However, their best came in March 1861, when riders carried the inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln from Nebraska to California in just seven days, 17 hours.[19]

7. Missouri has the largest beer producing plant in the country as it houses the maker of Budweiser beer–the Anheuser-Busch.[2]

8. Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to set foot on the land in 1673 while traveling down the Mississippi River.[3]

9. The “Missouri Gazette”, the first newspaper in Missouri, was founded in Missouri in 1808 by Joseph Charles.[3]

Missouri on the map

10. Mark Twain, a world’s renowned influential writer, was born in Missouri in 1835.[3]

11. In 1849, a cholera epidemic struck St. Louis, killing over 4,000 people.[3]

12. In 1911, a lightning strike on Missouri State Capitol that resulted in a fire destroyed the building completely.[3]

13. Missouri is named after the Missouri River, which was named after the indigenous Missouri Indians. The Missouri River is the longest river in the USA.[1]

14. Missouri is a landlocked state and borders eight states. Both Missouri and Tennessee have borders with the most number of states (8 states) in the U.S.[1] (See the list of U.S. states and their borders here.)

The State Quarter

State Quarter Missouri. Missouri fact file

15. The Mississippi and the Missouri River are the two longest rivers of the state.[1]

16. Missouri is one of the leading producers of transportation equipment.[4]

17. The University of Missouri is the first college in the world to grant a journalism degree. It opened on September 14, 1908.[18]

18. Missouri is a leading lead-producing state. The deposit of the metal fostered the first European settlement in the state in about 1750.[5]

19. Ice cream cones made from waffles were first invented in Missouri in the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups to supply the ice cream. The vendor asked a waffle vendor to roll waffles to supply the ice cream, and hence the birth of the cone took place.[12]

20. The first parachute jump from a plane was also made at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis on March 1, 1912.[5]

21. Harry S. Truman (33rd president of the U.S.) was the only president of the United States born in Missouri. (Born: 8 May 1884, Lamar, Missouri, United States; Died: 26 December 1972, Kansas City, Missouri, United States.)[6]

22. Kansas City, Missouri, is home to more than 200 fountains. The city is only behind Rome in the total number of fountains. It is also nicknamed “the City of Fountains”. Other nicknames of Kansas City include Heart of America and America’s Creative Crossroads.[7]

23. Union Station the second-largest working train station in the U.S. behind the Grand Central terminal is in Kansas City, Missouri. It was built in 1914.[7]

24. The American Jazz Museum – the first museum solely dedicated to Jazz music is also located in Kansas City, Missouri.[7]

25. Big Springs, Missouri is one of the largest springs in the U.S. and the world. The spring has an average flow of 470 cubic feet (13,000 L) of water per second.[8]

26. Missouri also has the country’s tallest monument – the Gateway Arch – in St Louis. It is 630 feet high and 630 feet wide at the base. It was completed on October 28, 1965. The monument is known as the “Gateway to the West.”[4]

Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

27. Missouri, along with Illinois and Indiana, also witnessed the deadliest tornado in U.S. history – The Tri-State Tornado. The tornado killed 695 people which is more than twice as many as the second deadliest in the U.S. history.[10]

28. Missouri is also known as the Cave State. It has more than 6,000 caves.[14]

29. Kansas City and St. Louis are home to more than half of the state’s population.[11]

30. Missouri is home to almost 10,000 farms which cover 66% of the state’s total land area. The average size of a farm in Missouri is 269 acres and they are generally family owned and operated. Soybean and corn are the state’s top crops.[13]

Missouri – Quick Facts and State Symbols

State AbbreviationMO
NoteClick on the previous/next link below to see more table entries.
State CapitalJefferson City
Largest CityKansas City
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 69,704 sq miles; Land Only: 68,886 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodAugust 10, 1821
State rank by population18th
State rank by date of formation24th
State rank by area21st
Number of Counties114
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
Bordering StatesArkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointTaum Sauk Mountain
1,772 ft (540 m)
Lowest pointSt. Francis River at Arkansas border
230 ft (70 m)
Mean elevation800 feet above sea level
Length 300 miles (480 km)
Width240 miles (390 km)
GovernorMike Parson (R)
Lieutenant GovernorMike Kehoe (R)
Electoral Votes10
State MottoSalus populi suprema lex esto (Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law)
State NicknameBullion State
Cave State
Gateway State
Lead State
Ozark State
Show Me State
% Water1.17
Nobel Prize WinnersJack Kilby (Physics, 2000)
Roger D. Kornberg (Chemistry, 2006)
T.S. Eliot (Literature, 1948)
Steven Chu (Physics, 1997)
Famous peopleRoger Wehrli (Pro Football player)
Yogi Berra (Baseball player)
Jo Jo White (Basketball player)
Pat LaFontaine (Hockey player)
John Goodman (Actor)
Eminem (Singer)
U.S. President Born in Missouri1. Harry S. Truman.
State animalMissouri mule
State Flag

Flag of Missouri.svg

State Seal

Seal of Missouri.svg

State coat of arms

Coat of arms of Missouri.svg

State Quarter

Missouri quarter

State fish

Paddlefish Polyodon spathula.jpg

State AmphibianBullfrog

Ouaouaron / Bullfrog
State BirdBluebird

Eastern Bluebird-27527-2.jpg

State Game Bird
Bobwhite Quail

Quail 7-10-14

Orconectes limosus - Kamberkrebs.jpg



State ReptileThree-toed box turtle

Three-toed Box Turtle.jpg

State HorseMissouri Fox Trotting Horse

Quick Trigger Missouri Fox Trotter.jpeg

State DinosaurHypsibema missouriensis

State FlowerHawthorn

Common hawthorn flowers.jpg

State Insect

Honey Bee
State FossilCrinoid

Agaricocrinus americanus Carboniferous Indiana.jpg

State TreeFlowering Dogwood

dogwood & blue sky
Longitude89° 6′ W to 95° 46′ W
Latitude36° 0′ N to 40° 37′ N
Time ZoneCentral
Area Codes314, 417, 557, 573, 636, 660, 816, 975
Data SourceWikipedia.org, 1keydata.com, State Symbols USA
Table last updated13th May, 2019