Formed as a state in 1821, MISSOURI acted as bridge between the two halves of America for much of the nineteenth century, when cities like St Louis on the Mississippi and Kansas City and St Joseph astride the Missouri boomed as depots for cattle heading east and settlers heading west. Due to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery was permitted in the state, though it remained within the Union during the Civil War (Confederate guerrilla forces attracted considerable support, however). Today the big cities of Missouri provide most of the allure, though the densely forested Ozark Mountains in the south offer a welcome contrast to the plains.

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