Cape Girardeau (, French: Cap-Girardeau [kap ʒiʁaʁdo] (listen); colloquially referred to as "Cape") is a city in Cape Girardeau County in the U.S. state of Missouri. It is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) southeast of St. Louis and 150 miles (240 km) north of Memphis. As of the 2019 United States Census Bureau estimates, the city's population was 40,559, making it the 17th-largest city in Missouri, and the largest city in Southeast Missouri. An emerging college town, it’s the home of Southeast Missouri State University.
The 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 60 miles (97 km) south of the French village of Ste. Genevieve, had been referred to as Cape Girardot or Girardeau (both pronounced the same in French).