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Bill Thayer

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History of Missouri

Histories and Source Documents

With respect to American history as a whole, the history of Missouri is pivotal, and in many ways: from its first exploration by French commercial interests seeking to connect Canada with Louisiana, to the French and Spanish forts soon established to control the Mississippi and Missouri River basins and cut off the westward expansion of the United States, to the Spanish and American outpost of New Madrid (famous today mostly for the earthquakes of 1811‑1812), to the Missouri Compromise that for a while looked like it would avert the breakup of the nation over slavery; and as a gateway to the West now commemorated by the Arch at St. Louis. Missouri was a microcosm of America, and in the War between the States its crucible, with according to some measures more battles than in any other State.

So rich a heritage deserves a general history of Missouri onsite, and at some point I may have one — but for now, the following more limited items:


[image ALT: A graphic of a middle-aged man in a heavy coat, holding a sheaf of papers in his hands, against the backdrop of a Gothic-arched niche. He is Charles Nerinckx, a pioneering Catholic priest in early‑19c Kentucky; this is the icon to my transcription of a biography of him by Camillus Maes.]

[ about 70 pages of print in 4 webpages ]

Missouri's earliest history is almost synonymous with that of Catholic institutions on the western frontier; they are traced in some detail in the Life of Charles Nerinckx (chapters 26‑29).


[image ALT: A close-up of a collection of papers spread out on a table. It is the icon used on this site to represent my American History Notes subsite.]

[ 3/30/11: 41 pages of print presented in 3 webpages ]

Squirreled away in the American History Notes section of the site, other Missouri material; consisting for now of just 3 items, in roughly chronological order:

The Founding of New Madrid, Missouri

Old Fort Belle Fontaine

The Iowa-Missouri Disputed Boundary



[image ALT: A round seal enclosed in a band of stars; the seal itself consists of a smaller round seal held on either side by a large bear, and crested by a helmet surmounted by a cloud of more stars still. It is the central device of the flag of the State of Missouri.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the central device on the flag of the State of Missouri; as with many other States, its seal.


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Site updated: 30 Mar 11