New Madrid, Missouri

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New Madrid (pronounced /njuː ˈmædrɨd/) is a city in New Madrid County, Missouri, 42 miles (68 km) south by west of Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. New Madrid was founded in 1788 by American frontiersmen. In 1900, 1,489 people lived in New Madrid, Missouri; in 1910, the population was 1,882. The population was 3,334 at the 2000 census. New Madrid is the county seat of New Madrid County.[3] This county seat is home to the consolidated middle and high schools. "Madrid" in this name is usually pronounced with the stress on the first syllable (MAD-rid), unlike the Spanish capital Madrid (ma-DRID).

The area is famous for being the site of a series of over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, ranging up to approximately magnitude 8, the most powerful non-subduction zone earthquake recorded in the United States. New Madrid, Missouri lies far away from any plate boundaries, although it lies on what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The earthquake was felt as far away as the East Coast.[4]

The city is also remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War.



New Madrid is located at 36°35′16″N 89°32′9″W / 36.58778°N 89.53583°W / 36.58778; -89.53583 (36.59, -89.54)[5]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 3,334 people, 1,275 households, and 882 families residing in the city. The population density was 738.3 people per square mile (284.8/km²). There were 1,414 housing units at an average density of 313.1/sq mi (120.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.56% White, 26.48% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.09% from other races, and 0.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

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