Cape Girardeau, Missouri

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Cape Girardeau (pronounced /ˈkeɪp dʒɨˈrɑrdoʊ/, French: Cap-Girardeau [kap ʒiʁaʁdo]  ( listen); colloquially referred to as "Cape") is a city located in Cape Girardeau and Scott counties in Southeast Missouri in the United States. It is located approximately 115 miles (185 km) southeast of St. Louis. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city's population was 35,349 — however in 2009, the population was estimated at 37,657. A college town, it is the home of Southeast Missouri State University and the largest city in southeastern Missouri. Although it is the largest city in Cape Girardeau County, the county seat is Jackson.[3]

The Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area embraces Alexander County, Illinois, Bollinger County, Missouri and Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.



The city is named after Jean Baptiste de Girardot, who established a temporary trading post in the area around 1733; he was a French soldier stationed at Kaskaskia, Illinois, 1704-1720. The 'Cape' in the city name was a rock promontory overlooking the Mississippi River, later destroyed by railroad construction. As early as 1765, a bend in the Mississippi River about 60 miles (97 km) south of the French village of Ste. Genevieve had been referred to as Cape Girardot or Girardeau. The settlement there dates from 1793 when the Spanish government, which had secured Louisiana in 1762, granted Louis Lorimier, a French-Canadian, the right to establish a trading post, which gave him extensive trading privileges and a large tract of land surrounding his post. Lorimier was made commandant of the district and prospered from the returns on his land sales and trade with indigenous peoples such as the Ozark Bluff Dwellers and the Mississippian. The town of Cape Girardeau was incorporated in 1808, prior to Missouri statehood, and was reincorporated as a city in 1843. The advent of the steamboat in 1835 led it to become the biggest port on the Mississippi River between Saint Louis and Memphis. It was established on January 4, 1793.

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