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In 1540, Hernando de Soto discovered the Missouri River and explored the area that is now Missouri. However, the area later came under French control. In fact, a group of French settlers led by Sieur d'Iberville came to the area in 1699, creating the first Missouri area permanent settlement. That settlement was created near what is now Ocean Springs. In 1763, the area came under British control, but they ceded it to the United States in 1783, when the Revolution ended. Spain also claimed parts of the are until 1798. Parts of West Florida, which had been under Spanish control, were annexed by the United States in 1798. That region included the southern section of present-day Missouri. See also Missouri History Page for more Details
The State of Missouri was organized as territory on June 4, 1812 and entered the union as the 24th state on Aug. 10, 1821. It has 114 Counties. The capital is Jefferson City and the official state website is www.mo.gov.
The State of Missouri is bordered by Arkansas (south), Illinois (east), Iowa, Kansas (west), Kentucky (southeast), Nebraska (northwest), Oklahoma (southwest), Tennessee (southeast). It has a land area of 69,709 square miles making it the 21st largest state.
The 2010 population was 5,988,927 and the largest cities (2010) are Kansas City, 459,787; St. Louis, 319,294; Springfield, 159,498; Independence, 116,830; Columbia, 108,500; Lee's Summit, 91,364; O'Fallon, 79,329; St. Joseph, 76,780; St. Charles, 65,794; St. Peter's, 52,757.
The State of Missouri named for an Algonquian Indian word that means "river of the big canoes." Mississippi's state nickname is the Show Me State. The State Motto is "Salus populi suprema lex esto " which means The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.