The state flag,
adopted in 1913, has stripes of red, white, and blue that
symbolize loyalty to the Union as well as valor, purity,
vigilance, and justice. The coat of arms in the center is
surrounded by a ring of 24 stars, which show that Missouri was the
24th state. On the state seal, adopted in 1822, two grizzly bears
support a shield featuring symbols of Missouri on the left and the
arms of the United States on the right. The bears represent the
state's strength and the bravery of its citizens.
Missouri is sometimes called the Mother of the West because it
once lay at the frontier of the United States. The state supplied
many of the pioneers who settled the vast region between Missouri
and the Pacific Ocean. St. Louis, St. Charles, Independence, St.
Joseph, and Westport Landing (now Kansas City) served as
jumping-off places for the westbound pioneers. The historic Santa
Fe Trail led from Independence to the rich, faraway Southwest.
Thousands of settlers also followed the Oregon Trail from
Independence to the Pacific Northwest. Furs brought from the
Northwest made St. Louis the fur capital of the world.