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It is situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which marks Missouri's border with Illinois.

French colonists used African slaves as domestic servants and workers in the city. Pierre Laclède led an expedition to set up a fur-trading post farther up the Mississippi River.

France, alarmed that Britain would demand French possessions west of the Mississippi and the Missouri River basin after the losing New France to them in 1759–60, transferred these to Spain as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Before then, Laclède had been a very successful merchant.

Although they were originally only granted rights to set up a trading post, Laclède and other members of his expedition quickly set up a settlement.

Some historians believe that Laclède's determination to create this settlement was the result of his affair with a married woman Marie-Thérèse Bourgeois Chouteau in New Orleans.

The city had an estimated 2018 population of 302,838 and is the cultural and economic center of the St.

The Missouri River merges with the Mississippi River just north of the city, forming the fourth-longest river system in the world.

In hindsight, many of these original settlers thought of these first few years as "the golden age of St. By 1765, the city began receiving visits from representatives of the English, French, and Spanish governments. Louis became the capital of, and gateway to, the new territory. Many other explorers, settlers, and trappers (such as Ashley's Hundred) would later take a similar route to the West. Louis was incorporated as a city in 1822, and continued to develop largely due to its busy port and trade connections.

The Indians in the area expressed dissatisfaction at being under the control of British forces. Shortly after the official transfer of authority was made, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson. Louis in May 1804 along the Missouri River to explore the vast territory. The city elected its first municipal legislators (called trustees) in 1808. Louis in 1818, improving connections with New Orleans and eastern markets. Slaves worked in many jobs on the waterfront as well as on the riverboats.

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Laclède on his initial expedition was accompanied by his young stepson, Auguste Chouteau.

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