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Cape Girardeau

Trip Planner USA  /  Missouri  /  Cape Girardeau
(3.6/5 based on 500+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: casinos, parks, wildlife areas
Cape Girardeau is a city located in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri in the United States. It is located approximately 115mi southeast of St. Louis and 175mi north of Memphis. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city's population was 37,941, making it the 16th-largest city in Missouri, and the largest city in Southeast Missouri. An emerging college town, it is the home of Southeast Missouri State University.HistoryThe city is named after Jean Baptiste de Girardot, who established a temporary trading post in the area around 1733. He was a French soldier stationed at Kaskaskia between 1704–1720 in the French colony of La Louisiane. The 'Cape' in the city name referred to a rock promontory overlooking the Mississippi River; it was later destroyed by railroad construction. As early as 1765, a bend in the Mississippi River, about 60mi south of the French village of Ste. Genevieve, had been referred to as Cape Girardot or Girardeau.The settlement of Cape Girardeau is said to date from 1793 when the Spanish government, which had acquired Louisiana in 1764 following the French defeat in the Seven Years' War, granted Louis Lorimier, a French-Canadian, the right to establish a trading post. This gave him trading privileges and a large tract of land surrounding his post. Lorimier was made commandant of the district and prospered from the returns on his land sales and trade with indigenous peoples, such as the Ozark Bluff Dwellers and the Mississippian people.
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