Stepping Back In Time in Missouri

Missouri is a state that has played an important role in America's history. In fact, in the city of St. Louis, there stands a very visible reminder of some of that history in the form of the Gateway Arch. While this stands as a recognizable symbol of America's expansion westward, that segment in history isn't the only reason that Missouri is historically significant. Not only is Missouri's history tied into the expansion of the country, but it also had an impact on the course of slavery. By learning about the important events in Missouri's history, people can have a better understanding of the overall history of the nation.

1673: Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, a fur trader, are credited as the first Europeans to discover what would become Missouri as they traveled down the Mississippi River.

1700: The first European settlement in Missouri is established by Jesuit missionaries.

1735-1750: This is the approximate time when the first permanent European settlement in Missouri, Ste. Genevieve, was founded. The exact date is unknown and is a source of disagreement among historians.

February 1764: The French fur trader Pierre Laclède Liguest establishes a settlement that he called St. Louis.

April 30, 1803: The U.S. makes the Louisiana Purchase, which includes Missouri, from the French.

July 4, 1803: On this date, an announcement is made to the people of the United States telling them of the Louisiana Purchase.

October 20, 1803: The Louisiana Purchase is ratified.

May 21, 1804: The Lewis and Clark expedition embarks from St. Charles, Missouri.

September 23, 1806: Lewis and Clark return to St. Charles after completing their expedition.

December 1811: The first of three earthquakes hits New Madrid, a city in Missouri. This and subsequent aftershocks are all part of one of the worst earthquakes to hit the U.S.

August 1817: The Zebelon M. Pike makes the first trip up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. This was also the first trip above what is the mouth of the Ohio River.

March 3, 1820: The Missouri Compromise is passed by Congress. This was a law that allowed slavery in Missouri and allowed Maine to be a free state.

August 10, 1821: Missouri becomes a state. It is the 24th state to join the Union.

1836: The Platte Purchase is made for $7,500. This involves the purchase of land from Ioway, Fox, and Sac Indians who lived along the Missouri River's east bank.

March 1837: The lands from the Platte Purchase are declared a part of the state of Missouri by the president.

October 27, 1838: An extermination order against Mormons is issued by the governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, following a Mormon attack on the militia. The order required that any Mormon be removed from the state or be exterminated/executed.

May 30, 1854: The Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise and leaves the issue of whether a territory should be pro- or anti-slavery in the hands of the settlers.

1854-1861: This is a period of violence and warfare between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers along the border between Missouri and Kansas. It is a period that became known as Bleeding Kansas or the Kansas-Missouri Border War.

January 11, 1865: Three weeks before the passing of the 13th Amendment, Missouri officially abolishes slavery.

September 1873: The first U.S. public kindergarten classroom is opened by Susan Elizabeth Blow in St. Louis.

May 8, 1884: President Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri.

October 28, 1965: The Gateway Arch is completed.

June 25, 1976: The Mormon extermination order given in 1838 is officially rescinded by Gov. Christopher Bond.

Resources