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Missouri: Show-Me State

CAPITAL: Jefferson City
JOINED UNION: August 10, 1821
STATE BIRD: Bluebird
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named after Missouri Indian tribe whose name means "town of the large canoes"
1992 POPULATION: 5,192,632
LAND AREA: 68,898 square miles
ECONOMY: Aerospace, beer, agriculture, livestock, tourism
HISTORY: Land of the Missouri Indians, the area was claimed by France after La Salle traveled here and French fur traders established Ste. Genevieve in 1735. Part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Missouri joined America and remained in the Union during the Civil War, although pro-slavery sentiment also ran high and state residents battled each other over the issue. Missouri played a major role in American history by becoming a rendezvous and departure point for pioneers traveling to the West. The Oregon and Santa Fe trails started in Independence and the Pony Express began in St. Joseph. American author Mark Twain forever immortalized the state, the riverboats and some fictional inhabitants named Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in his books.

Joplin Makes His Mark 1899


When Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" was published here in sheet-music form, it marked the beginning of ragtime music as a national trend. "Maple Leaf Rag" came along at the time of player pianos and it sold about a million copies. In the 1970s, the music was popularized again when it was played in the movie "The Sting."

Ragtime developed around New Orleans in the late 1800s and then spread to St. Louis, Chicago, and New York, among other cities. Traditionally played on the piano, ragtime has a syncopated irregular beat in the right hand and a steady march-like beat in the left. The music combines bits of African-American plantation songs, Caribbean music, Cajun songs, and the folk tunes of wandering minstrels along the Mississippi Delta, among other sources.

It is upon ragtime that the modern popular music industry is based. Previously, American music was based on European models, but with ragtime it became based on Afro-American music and rhythms. Usually ragtime is happy and uplifting in its chords and sounds and it was good music for lively dancing. Ragtime was also the basis for the development of jazz.


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