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Founded as the county seat of Boone County in 1820, the city of Columbia, Missouri is the fourth most populated city in the state. The community was originally known as Smithton, and located west of the current town site. Due to a lack of water, the settlement was moved across the Flat Branch Creek and renamed Columbia in 1821, and incorporated under that name in 1826. Prior to its settlement by European Americans, the area that was to become Columbia was visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803, and in 1806 Daniel Boone and his sons established a salt lick forty miles northwest of Columbia. In 1818, a group of settlers, organized under the Smithton Land Company, bought more than two thousand acres of land, and established the village of Smithton less than a mile from the current town center. Although several Civil War battles were fought at nearby Boonville and Centralia, Columbia was mostly untouched by the Civil War. The town was pro-Union, and heavily protected by Union troops, although the surrounding area was mostly in favor of the Confederacy. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, Stephens College, and Columbia College. William Rainey Marshall, the fifth governor of Missouri, was born in Columbia, and Roger B. Wilson, the 52nd governor of the state, taught school and served as a principal in Columbia. The city is in central-north Missouri.

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