Missouri (Mis-soo'ree), one of the central states, and the fifth in order of population, of the American Union. It is 280 miles long from N. toS., and gradually increases southward in width from 208 miles to 312. Area, 68,735 sq. m., or nearly that of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. The Missouri River divides the state into two unequal sections, north and south. North Missouri is generally level or slightly undulating, consisting of rolling prairies and level bottom-lands, with a luxuriant growth of timber along the streams. The southern section derives its distinctive features from the Ozark Mountains, throughout the greater part of their length rather tablelands, reaching their highest altitude (1500 feet) in Greene and Webster counties, and gradually breaking up into narrow ridges, spurs, knobs, and peaks farther east. The entire eastern boundary is washed by the Mississippi River, with a water front of 560 miles. The general drainage of the surface is indicated by long gentle slopes toward the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, except in the south-west, where the streams flow into the Arkansas. The extremes of heat and cold peculiar to this latitude are experienced; but the mean annual temperature is 54°, and the mean average rainfall is 41 inches. Missouri is pre-eminently an agricultural state. The soils are rich, deep, and unsurpassed in variety and productiveness. The principal crops are Indian corn, oats, wheat, potatoes, rye, barley, hemp, flax, cotton, sorghum, buckwheat, hay, and tobacco; whilst orchard products are grown in great abundance. There are vast numbers of grazing animals, though sheep are not largely raised. The immense quantities of dressed beef and pork shipped annually are constantly increasing. The mineral resources are exceedingly rich, comprising coalfields that cover more than 20,000 sq. m.; also vast deposits of iron ore, lead, and zinc ; while copper, cobalt, nickel, fireclays, fine marble, granite, and limestone abound. Excellent transportation facilities are afforded by the Mississippi River along the eastern border, and by the Missouri River across the state; and the railroads are about 7000 miles in length. The metropolis of Missouri is St Louis. Next come Kansas City, St Joseph, Springfield, Sedalia, Hannibal, Joplin, Moberly, Carthage, Nevada, etc. Pop. (1820) 20,845; (1840) 140,455; (1860) 1,182,012; (1880) 2,168,380; (1900) 3,106,665. Missouri was first explored by De Soto in 1541. It formed part of the ' Louisiana Purchase (1803); in 1821 Missouri was admitted into the Union, but the present limits of the state were not established till 1836.