Missouri (see pronunciations) is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is the 21st most extensive, and the 18th most populousof the fifty states. The state comprises 114 counties, and the independent city of St. Louis.
The four largest urban areas in Missouri are: St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, as defined by the US 2010 census. Themean center of the United States population at the 2010 census was at the town of Plato in Texas County. The state's capital is Jefferson City. The land that is now Missouri was acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became known as the Missouri Territory. Part of this territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.
Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains, while the southern portion lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing both regions. The state lies at the intersection of the three greatest rivers ofNorth America, with the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers near St. Louis, and the confluence of the Ohio River with the Mississippi north of the Bootheel. The starting points for the Pony Express, Santa Fe Trail, and Oregon Trail were all located in Missouri
|State of Missouri|
|Nickname(s): The Show Me State|
|Motto(s): Salus populi suprema lex esto (Latin)|
The vast majority of people in Missouri speak English. Approximately 5.1% of the population reported speaking a language other than English at home. The Spanish language is spoken in small Latino communities in the St. Louis and Kansas City Metro areas.
Missouri is home to an endangered dialect of the French language known as Missouri French. Speakers of the dialect, who call themselves Créoles, are descendants of the French pioneers who settled the area then known as the Illinois Country beginning in the late 17th century. It developed in isolation from French speakers in Canada and Louisiana, becoming quite distinct from the varieties of Canadian French and Louisiana Creole French. Once widely spoken throughout the area, Missouri French is now nearly extinct, with only a few elderly speakers able to use it.
Many well-known musicians were born or have lived in Missouri. These include guitarist and rock pioneer Chuck Berry, singer and actress Josephine Baker, "Queen of Rock" Tina Turner, pop singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, and rappers Nelly, Chingy and Akon, all of whom are either current or former residents of St. Louis.
Country singers from Missouri include New Franklin native Sara Evans, Cantwell native Ferlin Husky, West Plains native Porter Wagoner, Tyler Farr of Garden City, and Mora native Leroy Van Dyke, along with bluegrass musician Rhonda Vincent, a native of Greentop.
Rapper Eminem was born in St. Joseph and also lived in Savannah and Kansas City.
Ragtime composer Scott Joplin lived in St. Louis and Sedalia.
Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker lived in Kansas City.
Rock and Roll singer Steve Walsh of the group Kansas was born in St. Louis and grew up in St. Joseph.
The Kansas City Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra are the state's major orchestras. The latter is the nation's second-oldest symphony orchestra and achieved prominence in recent years under conductor Leonard Slatkin.
Branson is well known for its music theaters, most of which bear the name of a star performer or musical group. These facilities have made Branson one of America's most popular tourist destinations..
Kansas City-born writer William Least Heat-Moon currently resides in Rocheport. He is best known for Blue Highways, a chronicle of his travels to small towns across America. The book was on the New York Times Bestseller list for nearly a year in 1982-1983.
Filmmaker, animator, and businessman Walt Disney spent part of his childhood in the Linn County town of Marceline before moving to Kansas City, Missouri. Disney began his artistic career in Kansas City, where he founded the Laugh-O-Gram Studio.
White Palace was filmed in St. Louis.
Up in the Air starring George Clooney was filmed in St. Louis.
Part of the 1973 movie, Paper Moon, which starred Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, was filmed in St. Joseph.
Most of HBO's film "Truman" were filmed in Kansas City, Independence, and the surrounding area. Gary Sinise won an Emmy for his portrayal of Harry Truman in the 1995 film.
"Ride With the Devil" starring Jewel and Tobey Maguire were also filmed in the countryside of Jackson County (also where the historic events of the film took place).
Missouri is home to a diversity of both flora and fauna. There is a large amount of fresh water present due to the Mississippi River, Missouri River, and Lake of the Ozarks, with numerous smaller tributary rivers, streams, and lakes. North of the Missouri River, the state is primarily rolling hills of the Great Plains, whereas south of the Missouri River, the state is dominated by the Oak-Hickory Central U.S. hardwood forest.