Missouri celebrates 201 years of statehood

201 years ago, Missouri became the 24th state admitted to the Union on Aug. 10, 1821.

According to archeological excavations, humans have inhabited the Missouri area since about 9000 BCE. There were many different civilizations of native peoples including the Missouri, Quapaw, and Osage. The French began to settle in present-day Missouri around 1735.

The United States acquired the land that makes up present-day Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Missouri Territory originally included parts of what are now Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. 

The Missouri Territory first applied in 1817, but was unable to obtain statehood due to the debate in Congress over slavery. In 1820, Maine applied for statehood with the intention of outlawing slavery. Congress passed the Missouri Compromise in March 1820 that would allow both Maine and Missouri to gain statehood. The Missouri constitution was ratified on July 19, 1820, and Missouri was granted statehood a year later in August 1821. President James Monroe signed the federal legislation. 

The first known census for inhabitants of what would later become Missouri was taken by France in 1752. The census included 23 individuals. In 2021, Missouri’s bicentennial, the state had over six million residents, making it the 19th most populous state. Missouri is the 21st largest state geographically and is bordered by the most states along with Tennessee (eight).