St. Louis, Missouri

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St. Louis (pronounced /seɪnt ˈluːɪs/ or /sænt ˈluː.iː/[citation needed]; French: Saint-Louis or St-Louis, [sɛ̃ lwi]  ( listen)) is an independent city[6] and the second-largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. The city has an estimated population of 356,587[5] and is the principal municipality of Greater St. Louis, population 2,892,874, the largest urban area in Missouri and 15th-largest in the United States.[7]

The city was founded in 1764 just south of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in what is today the Midwestern United States by colonial French traders Pierre Laclède and René Auguste Chouteau, who named the settlement after King Louis IX of France. The early wealth of the city was based on the fur trade. The city, as well as the future state of Missouri, became part of the Spanish Empire after the French were defeated in the Seven Years' War. In 1800, the land was secretly transferred back to France, whose leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, sold it to the United States in 1803. Nicknamed the "Gateway to the West" for its role in the westward expansion of the United States, the city gave the moniker in 1965 to the new Gateway Arch built as part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; the Arch has become the iconic image of St. Louis.

By the early 20th century, St. Louis was the 4th-largest U.S. city, but since the mid-20th century, its population has declined following suburbanization, industrial restructuring and the loss of jobs. Today the city is in 52nd place.[8] At the peak of the city's influence, St. Louis hosted the 1904 World's Fair and 1904 Olympic Games. It established a special tax district to provide a kind of endowment for its cultural institutions, and offers residents free admission to the St. Louis Art Museum, History Museum and Zoo. The city also has a nationally known symphony orchestra.

During the rise of industrial jobs in the 19th and 20th centuries, immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Bohemia flooded St. Louis, helping to shape the cuisine, religious expression, music and architecture of the city. The city's many 19th-century German breweries shaped beer in the United States, most notably Anheuser-Busch, Falstaff Brewing Corporation, and Lemp Brewery. 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. Many African Americans moved north to the city in the early 20th century during the Great Migration, joining those long here who had worked in the city and on the river steamboats. The arrival of African Americans from the South helped bring about the St. Louis styles of blues, ragtime, and jazz.

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