The name Missouri is an Indian word believed to mean "river of big canoes." It also is known as the Cave State and has more than 6,000 caves. U.S. Army Captain Albert Berry, at a St. Louis base, was the first person in the world to make a parachute jump.
Missouri has been nicknamed the Show Me State ever since Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver said in 1899, "I'm from Missouri and you have to show me."
In 1904, St. Louis, Missouri hosted the first Olympic Games in the United States. It was so hot that summer that almost half of the runners got heat stroke. The winner of the marathon event cheated and rode in a car from mile nine to mile 19. That same hot summer, an ice cream vendor ran out of cups for ice cream and, with the help of a waffle maker, created the first ice cream cone.
Missouri also is known for having four of the biggest earthquakes in North American history. The largest was 8.0 on the Richter scale. In 1925, Missouri experienced the deadliest tornado in U.S. history, as of 2015. It killed 695 people and injured 2,027.
The state covers more than 69,000 square miles and has almost six million residents. Many famous people are from Missouri, including Maya Angelou, a well-known poet and civil rights activist. Mark Twain, who wrote many books, including 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,' was born in Florida, Missouri. The state also is the original starting point for the Pony Express.