State capital of Missouri, located in the central part of the state, 167 km/104 mi west of St Louis, on the Missouri River; seat of Cole County; population (2000 est) 39,600. It is the centre of an agricultural region which produces grain and livestock, and is situated in an area with lead and zinc deposits. Industries include agricultural products, fabricated metals, shoes, electrical appliances, and cosmetics. Jefferson was incorporated as a city in 1839.
The community was founded in 1821 and was originally a trading post called Lohman's Landing, until it was chosen as the state capital in the same year. It was named after US president Thomas Jefferson.
The present State Capitol was completed in 1907. Jefferson City is the seat of Lincoln University, founded in 1866 by African-American veterans of the Civil War, and is home to the Cole County Historical Museum, which is located in a house dating from 1871. The university and the museum are among 33 entries on the national register of historic places.