History od St. Louis
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the area of present-day St. Louis was long inhabited by native tribes of the Mississippian culture, who were known for making earthwork mounds. European exploration started with the French in 1673, and five years later La Salle claimed the land for French Louisiana.
The city was founded in 1764 by a French fur trader Pierre Laclede and his stepson. The area was attacked by British troops during the American Revolutionary War. At the time St. Louis was governed by the Spanish, in 1800 it was restituted back to France and finally sold to the United States in 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase. The Lewis and Clark expedition left westward from St. Louis in 1804 and upon their return in 1806 both famous explorers remained in the city.
The arrival of steamboats in 1818 was a pivotal moment in the history of St. Louis, as it connected it to major ports such as New Orleans and set the base for economy based on trade and distribution. Missouri became a state in 1821 and St. Louis was officially incorporated the following year. First waves of European immigrants (mostly German and Irish) started in the 1840 and the population in the city grew very quickly.
Civil War divided St. Louis but the city did not actually see any large battles after 1861 and the Camp Jackson Affair. Still, the war hurt its economy as the river traffic to the South was blocked. After the war, St. Louis focused on the trade with the West. In the late 19th century the city got several major companies and had a thriving cultural life, with major literary names such as T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams.
In 1904, St. Louis was the first non-European city to host the Olympics. It hosted the World’s Fair also in 1904, and these two major events contributed to the local economy, financed some major projects (a zoo, an art museum and a history museum) and brought many visitors to the city.
St. Louis was struggling with racial discrimination for much of the 20th century. De jure educational segregation continued throughout the 1950 and even in the 1970s the city still largely segregated.
Suburbanization processes starting in the 1950s and continuing all the way to the 1990s, significantly reducing the population within the city. Urban renewal and downtown revitalization processes started in the late 1980s. In 2006, St. Louis received the “World leadership Award” for its urban renewal.
Geography and Climate
St. Louis lies on bluffs and terraces along the western bank of the Mississippi River. The terrain consists of gently rolling prairie, with soft, low hills and broad valleys. In addition to the Mississippi, other rivers in the area of St. Louis include the Missouri River, River Des Peres and the Meramec River. The city itself occupies an area of 66.2 square miles.
The city is located in a transitional area between the humid continental and humid subtropical climate. It receives both the hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico and cold fronts from Arctic. It has four distinct seasons- spring is the wettest, with frequent severe weather, summer is hot and humid, autumn is less humid and mild and winter is cold and often snowy.
Population of St. Louis
At the 2010 Census, St. Louis had a population of 319,294. The racial makeup was 49.2% African American, 42.2% non-Hispanic White, 3.5% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 2.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American and 2.4% two or more races.
The largest Hispanic group are Mexicans, who are concentrated mostly in Gravois Park and the Dutchtown, while the African Americans, who are the majority in the city, live mostly on the east side of St. Louis. Among Asians, Vietnamese live mostly in the Dutchtown and the second-largest Asian group, the Chinese, are concentrated in the Central West End.
St. Louis used to be predominantly white until the 1950s, when white flight and increased suburbanization processes started.
In 2000, the median household income in St. Louis was $29,156 and the per capita income was $18.108. In 2011, St. Louis had a gross metropolitan product of $133.1 billion, the 21st-highest in the USA.
The largest economy sectors in the city are manufacturing, health care, social service industry, various professional services, retail and shipping. In 2004, the Port of St. Louis was the America’s third-largest inland port by tonnage.
St. Louis is today home to nine of the Fortune 500 companies: Monsanto, Peabody Energy, Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Centene, Graybar Electric, Reinsurance Group of America, Charter Communications and Ameren.
Other major companies working in the city area include Scottrade, AT&T Communications, Cassidy Turley, Kerry Group, Furniture Brands International, Pfizer, Solae Company, General Motors and many more.
St. Louis used to be home of several major companies that were later purchased by other corporations, most notably McDonnell-Douglas, Ralston Purina and May Department Stores Company.
Landmarks, Attractions and Culture
The most recognizable landmarks in St. Louis are the Gateway Arch and the Delmar Loop. The city is also famous for its music, especially its contributions to ragtime, blues and jazz. St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the USA. Some of the famous musicians and bands hailing from St. Louis include Chuck Berry, Little Milton, Sheryl Crow, Uncle Tupelo, Nelly and Akon.
Major museums in St. Louis include the St. Louis Art Museum, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Missouri Historical Museum and the Museum of Westward Expansion.
St. Louis is a major center of Roman Catholicism in the USA, home of the largest Ethical Culture Society in the nation. Some of the notable churches in the city include the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and Basilica of St. Louis, King of France.
Notable institutions of higher education in the city include Saint Louis University, Harris-Stowe State University and Washington University in St. Louis.
Major highways in St. Louis area are I-70, I-55, I-64 and I-44. Primary airport for the city is Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Freight rail is operated by BNSF Railway and passenger rail is provided by Amtrak. Mass transit in the city consists of light rail (MetroLink) and buses (MetroBus).