For the past few weeks we have been studying about all of the various countries who owned the Missouri Territory, about the Louisiana Purchase, the exploration of Lewis and Clark, and how Missouri actually became a state.
France and Spain tossed the Missouri Territory back and forth for quite some time. The United States only included those states East of the Mississippi River, so Missouri was not part of the original United States. It was as if Missouri was living in another world. They were not directly involved in the Revolutionary War against England, other than the French loaning their resources to the United States to help them fight against the Brits. (I always wondered how life on the Little House on the Prairie was "peacefully" moving along while the Revolutionary War was raging in the East. This is why.)
In the meantime, the Missouri Territory was becoming a strong fur trading area. The city of St. Louis was in its early stages and many towns were popping up along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. For the most part there was peaceful living between the Native Americans and the French.
When Spain took control of the territory, it pretty much ignored the area. But there were still strong French influences. Eventually Napoleon realized that he needed lots of money so he sold the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States for a mere $15 million. This doubled the size of the United States and consumed the Missouri Territory.
Missouri then worked at becoming a state and initiating its own government and constitution. With the completion of the Missouri Compromise, Missouri officially became a state. As we learned on our last field trip, the first capitol building was in St. Charles, Missouri, and Missouri's first governor was Alexander McNair. Once the city of Jefferson City was constructed, the capitol permanently moved there.
Lewis and Clark were dispatched from Missouri on their famous Corp of Discovery. During this time William Clark scouted out the area for a U.S. military post called Fort Osage. This post was to be a trading post for the United States government. Fort Osage is located in Sibley, Missouri, named after its trader George Sibley.
The kids and I spent an afternoon at Fort Osage recently during their Grand Festival of Chez Les Canses. This festival gave us a taste of the military fort itself, as well as the French influence at the time. It was a perfect way to conclude this portion of our studies.