Symbols Of Missouri: History And Symbolism

Missouri is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. As with most states, Missouri has its fair share of symbols that represent its history and culture. These symbols are not only a source of pride for the people of Missouri, but they also provide insight into the state’s past and present. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most significant symbols of Missouri and their meanings. It’s essential to understand these symbols so that we can appreciate and preserve the state’s heritage for future generations.

The Missouri State Flag: A Symbol of Pride and Heritage

History and Significance of the Missouri State Flag

The Missouri state flag was first adopted in 1913, after over 20 years of lobbying for a state flag. Missouri was one of the last states to adopt a flag, but it was well worth the wait. The flag’s design is steeped in symbolism that represents the rich history and heritage of Missouri.

The Design and Colors of the Flag

The flag features a red, white, and blue color scheme with a circular emblem in the center. The emblem is encircled by a blue band, with the name “Missouri” written in gold letters. Inside the emblem is the state seal, which depicts a grizzly bear, a crescent moon, and a rising sun. Two grizzly bears are holding a shield with the red and white stripes of the United States of America, and a blue star above it. The bears represent courage and strength, the crescent moon represents newness, and the rising sun represents progress.

Interesting Facts About the Flag

– The flag’s design was created by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver, who was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
– The colors of the flag represent the values of Missouri citizens, with red symbolizing valor, white symbolizing purity, and blue symbolizing justice.
– The state seal on the flag has been modified four times since 1822, with the current version being adopted in 1899.

What the Flag Represents for Missourians

The Missouri state flag represents the state’s rich history, heritage, and values. For Missourians, the flag is a symbol of pride and unity, and a reminder of the state’s unique contributions to the United States. The flag serves as a unifying force for all Missourians, whether they were born and raised in the state or are recent transplants. It is a reminder of what makes Missouri special and why it is such a great place to call home.

History and Significance of the Missouri State Seal

The Missouri state seal is a symbol of the state’s official authority, and it has been used since Missouri became a state in 1821. The seal was designed by Robert William Wells, who was a state senator at the time. It has undergone several changes since then, but the basic design has remained the same.

The Missouri state seal features a central image of a grizzly bear over a ribbon with the state motto “Salus populi suprema lex esto,” which means “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.” On the outer ring of the seal, there are 24 stars representing Missouri as the 24th state to join the Union, and two larger stars representing the Louisiana Purchase and the Missouri Compromise.

Meaning of the Symbols and Phrases on the Seal

The grizzly bear on the Missouri state seal is a symbol of bravery and strength. The bear is standing on a rock, which represents the state’s solid foundation. The ribbon with the state motto emphasizes the importance of the people’s welfare, indicating that the government’s primary role is to serve the people.

The 24 stars on the outer ring symbolize Missouri’s statehood, and the two larger stars represent significant events in the state’s history. The Louisiana Purchase star is a reference to Missouri’s role in the purchase of this territory from France, which nearly doubled the size of the United States. The Missouri Compromise star is a reference to this landmark legislation, which helped to preserve the balance of power between slave and free states.

How the Seal Has Evolved Over Time

The Missouri state seal has undergone several changes over time. The first version of the seal featured a different motto, “United we stand, divided we fall,” and a different image in the center. Later versions featured different images and phrases, including a depiction of the state capitol building and the phrase “Let the good of the people be the supreme law.”

The current version of the Missouri state seal was adopted in 1987. It features the same basic design as the original seal, but with some minor changes to the lettering and the size of the stars.

Uses of the Seal in Missouri

The Missouri state seal is used on official documents, including state laws and executive orders. It is also used on the flags of many state agencies and institutions, as well as on the state’s official website. In addition, the seal is often used to represent the state in art and design, including on t-shirts, mugs, and other souvenirs.

Missouri State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird was designated as the official state bird of Missouri in 1927. This bird is highly regarded for its stunning appearance, gentle temperament, and sweet melodies. The Eastern Bluebird is a symbol of hope, happiness, and love. It represents the beauty of nature and the importance of preserving it for future generations to enjoy.

The Eastern Bluebird is a small bird, measuring only 6 to 8 inches in length. It has a bright blue head and back, rusty-red breast and sides, and a white belly. The female Eastern Bluebird has a duller appearance than the male, but is still a beautiful bird to see. It is known for its melodious song, which is often described as a warbling or trilling sound.

Interesting Facts about the Eastern Bluebird

  • Habitat: Eastern Bluebirds live in open woodlands, fields, and meadows. They are commonly found in rural areas, but can also be seen in suburban and urban areas.
  • Diet: Eastern Bluebirds feed on insects, fruits, and berries. They are known to eat insects that are harmful to crops, making them beneficial to farmers.
  • Conservation: Eastern Bluebirds were once endangered due to habitat loss and competition from other bird species. However, conservation efforts have helped to increase their population in recent years.
  • Mating Habits: Eastern Bluebirds are monogamous and mate for life. They build their nests in tree cavities, birdhouses, and other small spaces. They typically lay 3 to 7 eggs per clutch.

Why the Eastern Bluebird was chosen as the state bird

The Eastern Bluebird was chosen as the state bird of Missouri because it is a common sight throughout the state and is highly regarded for its beauty and sweet songs. Additionally, the Eastern Bluebird represents hope and happiness, which are values that are important to the people of Missouri. By designating the Eastern Bluebird as the state bird, Missouri is honoring this beautiful bird and showcasing its importance to the state’s natural environment.

Missouri State Tree: Flowering Dogwood

The Missouri state tree is the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), which was officially designated as the state tree in 1955. The Dogwood is a small deciduous tree that is native to Missouri and can grow up to 30 feet tall. It is often used as an ornamental tree due to its beautiful flowers and attractive bark.

Identification and Characteristics of the Flowering Dogwood

The Flowering Dogwood is easily identifiable by its pink or white flowers that bloom in the spring. The leaves are elliptical in shape and turn red in the fall before falling off. The bark of the tree is also attractive, with a unique pattern that resembles alligator skin.

Interesting Facts about the Flowering Dogwood

– The Flowering Dogwood is sometimes called the “American Boxwood” due to its use in making small boxes and other decorative items.
– The Dogwood is also known for its dense, hard wood that is used for making tool handles, golf club heads, and even artificial limbs.
– The Dogwood is also a favorite food of many wildlife species, including deer, squirrels, and songbirds.

Why the Flowering Dogwood was chosen as the state tree

The Flowering Dogwood was chosen as the state tree of Missouri because it is native to the state and has significant cultural and historical importance. The Dogwood is often associated with the Christian faith, with some beliefs saying that the wood of the Dogwood was used to make the cross that Jesus was crucified on. Additionally, the Dogwood has been used in traditional medicine by Native American tribes for centuries. Overall, the Flowering Dogwood is a beautiful and important tree that is deserving of its status as the Missouri state tree.

Missouri State Animal: The Missouri Mule

History and significance of the Missouri state animal

The Missouri Mule has been an iconic symbol of Missouri for over a century. The state of Missouri officially declared the Missouri Mule as the state animal in 1995 after a long history of mules playing an important role in the state’s development. Mules were used to help farmers plow fields, transport goods, and even as a mode of transportation before the invention of the automobile. During the Civil War, Missouri became known as the “Mule State” due to its vast herds of mules that were used for military purposes. The Missouri Mule played an important role in shaping the state’s history, and it continues to be a symbol of Missouri’s heritage.

Identification and characteristics of the Missouri Mule

The Missouri Mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. This hybrid animal is known for its strength, endurance, and intelligence. Mules are typically larger than donkeys and have longer ears and a shorter mane. They have a tough, hardy exterior and are able to withstand harsh weather and rough terrain. The Missouri Mule can range in color from black, brown, gray, or even white. They are often used for farm work, transportation, and even as pack animals for camping trips.

Interesting facts about the Missouri Mule

– Mules are known for their stubbornness, which is actually a survival instinct. If they sense danger, they will refuse to move, which can be beneficial in dangerous situations.

– Mules have a longer lifespan than horses, often living well into their 30s.

– The Missouri Mule was the inspiration for the famous song “The Missouri Mule” written by Fred J. Lewey in 1916.

– Mules are sterile and cannot reproduce, which makes them a unique animal.

Why the Missouri Mule was chosen as the state animal

The Missouri Mule was chosen as the state animal because of its historical significance and its importance in shaping Missouri’s economy and culture. Mules played a vital role in Missouri’s development, and they continue to be a beloved symbol of the state’s heritage. The Missouri Mule represents the resilience, strength, and hardworking spirit of the people of Missouri.

The Significance of Galena as the Missouri State Mineral

Missouri is known for its diverse geological formations and rich mineral resources. In 1967, Galena was designated as the official state mineral of Missouri. Galena is a lead sulfide mineral that has been widely used for centuries. It has played a vital role in the state’s economy and history, making it an excellent choice for the state mineral.

Identification and Characteristics of Galena

Galena is a bluish-gray mineral with a metallic luster that crystallizes in cubic or octahedral forms. It is a soft mineral that has a hardness rating of 2.5 on the Mohs scale. It is also heavy, with a specific gravity of 7.4 to 7.6. Galena has a perfect cubic cleavage, meaning it breaks off in perfect cubes.

Some interesting facts about Galena include:

  • Galena is the most common lead mineral and the primary source of lead ore.
  • It has been used for centuries to make lead shot, bullets, and pipes.
  • Galena was used by the ancient Egyptians as a cosmetic and by the Romans for water pipes and dishes.
  • It is still used today to make lead-acid batteries and radiation shielding.

Why Galena was chosen as the state mineral

Galena has a long history in Missouri, dating back to the early 1700s when French explorers discovered lead deposits in the region. The mineral played a significant role in the state’s economy and development, with lead mining being a major industry in Missouri for many years. Galena is also found in abundance throughout the state, making it a natural choice for the state mineral.

In conclusion, Galena is a fascinating mineral with a rich history and significance in Missouri. Its selection as the state mineral pays tribute to the state’s geology, economy, and cultural heritage.


Missouri is a state rich in history and culture, and its symbols reflect that. From the state animal to the state musical instrument, each symbol has its own unique significance. The fiddle, a symbol of Missouri’s musical heritage, has played an important role in the state’s history. Its lively tunes and vibrant sounds are emblematic of the state’s lively and vibrant culture. We encourage readers to learn more about the symbols of Missouri, and to visit the state to experience them firsthand. Who knows, you might just fall in love with Missouri’s unique charm and culture!

Liked this? Share it!