Kansas City is located in Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass counties, and is the largest city in Missouri. It is located in the western part of the state, at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers.
French trader François Chouteau came from St. Louis to establish a trading post in 1821 on the site of the present city. He took advantage of the growing fur trade with the Kansa, Osage, Wyandotte, and other tribes. The community became the Town of Kansas.The city was renamed Kansas City in 1889. The city's name reflects its Native American heritage—its site was within the territory of the Kansa, or Kaw, Indians.
The coming of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad in 1865 and the spanning of the Missouri River by the Hannibal Bridge in 1869 contributed to the city's growth. It also prospered as a center for the nation's cattle business.The city grew rapidly in the mid-1880s as the starting point for gold prospectors and settlers heading westward.
The Kansas City metropolitan area, once known primarily for agriculture and manufacturing, has expanded its economic base to include strong growth in areas of telecommunications, banking and finance, and the service industry. A transportation hub since the 1800s, the area enjoys a national and regional prominence as a distribution and manufacturing center, Kansas City ranks nationally as first in greeting-card publishing as Hallmark Cards is located there.Along with frozen food storage and distribution, hard winter-wheat marketing; second in wheat flour production; and third in auto and truck assembly. The area is one of the ten federal regional centers and local governments are among the top employers. The city is also a center for health care in the region.