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St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri, United States. It sits near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers, on the western bank of the latter. As of 2020, the city proper had a population of around 301,500, while the bi-state metropolitan area, which extends into Illinois, had an estimated population of over 2.8 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, the seventh-largest in the Great Lakes Megalopolis, and the 20th-largest in the United States. Before European settlement, the area was a regional center of Native American Mississippian culture. St. Louis was founded on February 14, 1764, by French fur traders Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent, Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, who named it for Louis IX of France. In 1764, following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War, the area was ceded to Spain. In 1800, it was retroceded to France, which sold it three years later to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase; the city was then the point of embarkation for the Corps of Discovery on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In the 19th century, St. Louis became a major port on the Mississippi River; from 1870 until the 1920 census, it was the fourth-largest city in the country. It separated from St. Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. St. Louis had a brief run as a world-class city in the early 20th century. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics. A "Gamma" global city with a metropolitan GDP of more than $160 billion in 2017, metropolitan St. Louis has a diverse economy with strengths in the service, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and tourism industries. It is home to nine of the ten Fortune 500 companies based in Missouri. Major companies headquartered or with significant operations in the city include Ameren Corporation, Peabody Energy, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Anheuser-Busch, Wells Fargo Advisors, Stifel Financial, Spire, Inc., MilliporeSigma, FleishmanHillard, Square, Inc., U.S. Bank, Anthem BlueCross and Blue Shield, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Centene Corporation, and Express Scripts. Major research universities include Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis. The Washington University Medical Center in the Central West End neighborhood hosts an agglomeration of medical and pharmaceutical institutions, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital. St. Louis has three professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League, and the St. Louis BattleHawks of the newly formed XFL. In 2019, the city was awarded a Major League Soccer franchise, St. Louis City SC, which is expected to begin play upon the completion of a 22,500-seat stadium in the city's Downtown West neighborhood in 2023. Among the city's notable sights is the 630-foot (192 m) Gateway Arch in the downtown area. St. Louis is also home to the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden, which has the second-largest herbarium in North America.
Carbondale is a city in Jackson and Williamson Counties, Illinois, United States, within the Southern Illinois region informally known as "Little Egypt". The city developed from 1853 because of the stimulation of railroad construction into the area. Today the major roadways of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51 intersect in the city. The city is 96 miles (154 km) southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest. Carbondale is the home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University (SIU). The city is the most populous in Southern Illinois outside the St. Louis Metro-East region, and the most populous city in the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 25,902, and it is the state's 20th-most-populated city outside the Chicago Metropolitan Area. In addition, the CSA has 126,575 residents, the sixth-most-populous combined statistical area in Illinois.
Cape Girardeau (, French: Cap-Girardeau [kap ʒiʁaʁdo] (listen); colloquially referred to as "Cape") is a city in Cape Girardeau and Scott Counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. At the 2020 census, the population was 39,540, with the surrounding metropolitan area totaling 134,051 residents in 2019. The city is the economic center of Southeast Missouri and also an emerging college town as the home of Southeast Missouri State University. It is located approximately 100 miles (161 km) southeast of St. Louis and 150 miles (241 km) north of Memphis.
Maryland Heights is a middle-class, second-ring north suburb of St. Louis, located in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. The population was 27,472 at the 2010 census. The city was incorporated in 1985. Edwin L. Dirck was appointed the city's first mayor by then County Executive Gene McNary. Mark M. Levin served as City Administrator from August 1985 to 2015.