On August 10, 1821, Missouri became the 24th state to be admitted to the Union. Missouri was first formed from the southeast corner of the Missouri Territory (previously the Louisiana Territory, immediately following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803). Upon statehood, Missouri immediately experienced an influx of people from a wide array of backgrounds, instantly making it a melting pot of the midwest.
Aptly nicknamed “Mother of the West,” Missouri’s influence on westward expansion of the U.S. cannot be overstated. The Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, and California Trail all began in Missouri. The expedition of Lewis and Clark began and ended in St. Louis. Also in St. Louis, the Gateway Arch stands as a testament to Missouri’s role in the exploration of the western United States.