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The Great History of St. Louis

May 10

St. Louis is a city that is adjacent to but not separate from St. Louis County in east-central Missouri (U.S.). It is situated on the Missouri River's west bank and is adjacent to, but not independent of, St. Louis County, east-central Missouri (U.S.). Its boundaries have not changed since 1876, when it was declared an administratively independent city. It is however the state's largest and most populous metropolitan area. All suburb communities include Chesterfield, Florissant, and Kirkwood. Inc. town, 1809; city, 1822. Area city, 66 sq. miles (171 km). Pop. (2010) 319,294; St. Louis Metro Area, 2,812,896; (2020) 301,578; St. Louis Metro Area, 2,820,253.


The Mississippian culture used to live in this area. Louis Jolliet, Jacques Marquette and other French explorers toured the area during their 1673 exploration. Pierre Laclede Liguest was a New Orleans fur-trading station founder who established a trading post on the spot in 1764. It was also near the Spanish territory. Auguste Chouteau designed it and named it Louis IX after the French canonized King. Later, St. Louis (1800), was retroceded back to France and, following the Louisiana Purchase (1803), became an American territory. In 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition embarked on a great exploration trip to explore the Pacific Northwest. It was also the capital city of Missouri (1812), as well as Louisiana (1805) territory.


St. Louis, Missouri's biggest city, was for many years the closest to the culture of the west. St. Louis was quickly a major river port after the 1817 arrival steamboats. Many immigrants came from Germany and Ireland in the 19th century. The Missouri Constitution Convention (1820) was held here. However, the capital was moved to Kansas when it became a state (1821). It was the center of westward expansion in America. It also served as an outfitting point for exploration parties, fur-trading expeditions, and pioneers who traveled across the state from Independence to Independence. After a cholera epidemic, a steamboat exploded on the riverfront killing many people. Railroads were built in 1850s. They had replaced steamboats by 1870s. St. Louis was once a Union base but was placed under martial law during American Civil War.


Although the fur trade was still very important until the mid-1800s, St. Louis became a major industrial hub for brewing and manufacturing (including shoes) in the second half the 19th century. The bridge that linked the Mississippi railroads was called the Eads Bridge (1874), now a National Historic Landmark. This made St. Louis an important transportation hub. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (also known as the St. Louis World's Fair) was held in Forest Park, just west of St. Louis. It was held alongside the 1904 Olympic Games. It attracted international attention. Charles A. Lindbergh flew alone across the Atlantic Ocean with financial support from St. Louis businessmen.


In the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, St. Louis' population grew steadily. Despite some slow growth during the Great Depression of 1930s, it recovered during World War II and reached an all-time high 850,000 in 1950. This period saw a higher number of African Americans among the newcomers. The city's population fell rapidly over the next years. It was approximately equivalent to 1880 in 2000 at about two-fifths of its 1950 level. The majority of those who moved out of the city were of European descent. They moved to suburbs which grew quickly. However, St. Louis's African Americans population declined at a slower rate and by 2000 blacks accounted for more than half of the city's residents.