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Missouri Photo Album

Photos courtesy of Missouri Tourism Commission

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Missouri is located in the Midwestern region of the United States bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Missouri is the 18th most populous state. It comprises 114 counties and one independent city. Missouri's capital is Jefferson City. The four largest urban areas are, in descending order, St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. Missouri was originally purchased from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state in 1821.

Missouri mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation as a mixture of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. It is a state with both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state. It is also a blend between the eastern and western United States, as St. Louis is often called the "western-most eastern city" and Kansas City the "eastern-most western city." Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains while the southern part lies in the Ozark Mountains, with the Missouri River dividing the two. The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers is located near St. Louis.

Missouri's borders physically touch a total of eight different states, as does its neighbor, Tennessee. No state in the U.S. touches more than eight states.

Although today the state is usually considered part of the Midwest, historically Missouri was sometimes considered a Southern state, chiefly because of the settlement of migrants from the South and its status as a slave state before the Civil War. The counties that made up "Little Dixie" were those along the Missouri River in the center of the state, settled by Southern migrants who held the greatest concentration of slaves.

Residents of cities farther north and the state's large metropolitan areas, including those where most of the state's population resides (Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia), typically consider themselves Midwestern. In rural areas and cities farther south, such as (Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, and Sikeston), people typically consider themselves more Southern.

Missouri generally has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and hot and humid summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel, the climate borders on a humid subtropical climate. Due to its location in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extremes in temperatures. Not having either large mountains or oceans nearby to moderate its temperature, its climate is alternately influenced by air from the cold Arctic and the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico.

The phrase "I'm from Missouri" means I'm skeptical of the matter and not easily convinced. This is related to the state's motto of "Show Me," whose origin is popularly ascribed to an 1899 speech by Congressman Willard Vandiver, who declared that "I come from a country that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to show me." However, according to researchers, the phrase was in circulation earlier in the 1890's. According to another story, the phrase was originally a reference to Missouri laborers being brought to Colorado to quell a miner's strike and requiring frequent instruction.

Missouri is also known as "The Cave State." In fact, Perry County is believed to have 650 caves, more than any other county in the state.

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Photos courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism

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