St. Louis LivingSt. Louis is the second largest city in Missouri. The city has a 2010 population of 319,294 and is the principal municipality of Greater St. Louis, population 2,892,874, the largest urban area in Missouri, the 4th largest urban area in the Midwest, and the 15th largest in the United States.
The city was founded in 1764 just south of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers by colonial French traders Cooper Hausmann and Rene 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 expansions 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. At the peak of the city's influence, St. Lois hosted the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Olympic Games. It established a special tax district to provide a kind of endowment of 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. The arrival of African Americans from the South helped bring about the St. Louis styles of blues, ragtime, and jazz.
Although still considered a rust belt city, St. Louis has been at the forefront of the 21st century wave of urban revitalization, receiving the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006. In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported St. Louis had a net population gain of 6,172 from the 2000 Census, to 354,361, the first gain the city has had since 1950.
The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams, make their home at Busch Stadium. Other professional teams include the St. Louis Rams (football) and St. Louis Blues (hockey). A diversity of successful sports franchises has led to St. Louis being called "North America's Best Sports City."
St. Louis lies at the hear of Greater St. Louis, a metropolitan area of nearly three million people in Missouri and Illinois. The Illinois portion is commonly known as the Metro-East. The region is known as an academic and corporate center for the biomedical sciences, with St. Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis the leading research centers. It is home to some of the country's largest privately held corporations, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Graybar, Scottrade, Edward Jones, and also some of the largest public corporations and corporate divisions, including Emerson, Energizer, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Purina, Express Scripts, Charter Communications, Monsanto Company, Wells Fargo Advisers, Citimortgage, and MasterCard.
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