St. Louis (Template:IPAc-en or Template:IPAc-en;Template:Citation needed French: Saint-Louis or St-Louis, Template:IPA-fr) is an independent city[1] on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, its population of 319,294 made it the 58th-largest U.S. city, while the Greater St. Louis combined statistical area's population of 2,845,298 made it the 16th-largest urban area in the country and the largest in the state.[2] It also made it the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Midwest.

The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and after the Louisiana Purchase, it became a major port on the Mississippi River. Its population expanded after the American Civil War, and it became the fourth-largest city in the United States in the late 19th century. It seceded from St. Louis County in 1876, allowing it to become an independent city and limiting its political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Olympic Games. The city's population peaked in 1950, then began a long decline.

With its French past and numerous Catholic immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, St. Louis is one of the largest centers of Roman Catholicism in the United States.Template:Citation needed The economy of St. Louis relies on service, manufacturing, and tourism, and the region is home to several major corporations, including Express Scripts, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Graybar Electric, Scottrade, Edward Jones Investments, Emerson Electric, Energizer, and Monsanto. St. Louis is home to three professional sports teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful Major League Baseball clubs; the hockey St. Louis Blues and football St. Louis Rams. The city is commonly identified with the Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in downtown St. Louis.


Main article: History of St. Louis, Missouri

The area that would become St. Louis was a center of Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds in the region, giving the city its nickname, the "Mound City". European exploration of the area began in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley. Five years later, La Salle claimed the region for France, and the earliest settlements in the area were built in Illinois during the 1690s and early 1700s at Cahokia, Kaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the eastern French villages founded Ste. Genevieve, Missouri across the Mississippi River from Kaskaskia, and in early 1764, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded the city of St. Louis.[3]

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