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St Louis Missouri



The state of MISSOURI , where the forest meets the prairie and the Mississippi River meets the Missouri River, has just two significant cities. Dominant St Louis sits midway down its eastern fringe; Kansas City is almost directly across on the western border. The pair are linked by I-70, but there's not much in between to warrant stopping off. In contrast, the south features the beautiful hillsides, streams and ragged lakes of the Ozark Mountains , as well as the booming country-and-western town of Branson ; while in the east , small river towns such as Hannibal and serene Ste Genevieve brighten the course of the Mississippi. The northwest , home of the Pony Express and outlaw Jesse James, still strikes up images of frontier times.

Although the first French colonists honored the claims of local Native Americans, such as the original Missouri, when the area was sold to the US in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the Indians were driven west by a great rush of settlers. In the 1840s and 1850s immigrants from Germany and Ireland flooded into eastern Missouri. Outnumbering their pro-slavery predecessors, they swung the balance in favor of staying in the Union during the Civil War. However, Confederate guerrilla forces attracted considerable support among slave-owners in the west of the state. Meanwhile Missouri, and St Louis in particular, was establishing itself as an important gateway to the West. Today, the " Show Me State " (so called because of the supposed skepticism of the typical Missourian) retains a conservative air, particularly in the rural areas.

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