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The State of Illinois is a state of the United States of America and the 21st state admitted to the Union. Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest and the fifth most populous in the nation, and has a large and cosmopolitan population. Its balance of vast suburbs and the great metropolis of Chicago in the northeast, rural areas, small industrial cities, and renowned agricultural productivity in central and western Illinois, and the coal mines of the south give it a highly diverse economic base. Its central location, connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River, made it a transportation hub for 150 years. It is this mixture of factory and farm, of urban and rural, that makes Illinois a microcosm of the United States.
About 2,000 Native American hunters and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area at the time of the American Revolution. American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s; they achieved statehood in 1818. Yankees arrived a little later and dominated the north, founding the future metropolis of Chicago in the 1830s. The coming of the railroads in the 1850s made highly profitable the rich prairie farmlands in central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, factories were being rapidly built in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, and also led to the state's material contribution as a major arsenal in both world wars. In addition to immigrants from Europe, large numbers of blacks left the cotton fields of the South to come to Chicago, where they developed a famous jazz culture.
News from The Chigago Tribune
Apr 21, 2015 7:31 pm
A federal judge last week granted a request by owners of Wrigley rooftop businesses to withdraw their lawsuit against the city of Chicago and its Landmarks Commission, which sought to throw out the pa...
Apr 21, 2015 7:23 pm
The Chicago Bears will play on Thanksgiving for the second consecutive year in 2015, this time against Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Apr 21, 2015 7:03 pm
As the Bulls' film session and light individual workouts concluded Tuesday, Nikola Mirotic walked from the side of the court to the trainer's room, stopping briefly to chat with coach Tom Thibodeau an...
Apr 21, 2015 6:17 pm
The Chicago Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk policy has routinely violated the constitutional rights of mostly African-Americans who have not committed any crime, according to a federa...
Apr 21, 2015 6:05 pm
The Chicago Blackhawks expect to face an ornery Nashville Predators squad when the teams take the ice for Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Tuesday night at the United Center.
Apr 21, 2015 5:08 pm
Think about how much of life's rich tapestry flitted by every day, unheralded and unsung, before we all carried little computer cameras in our pocket.
Apr 21, 2015 4:52 pm
The woman who was struck in the back of the head by a foul ball during the Cubs' game against the Pirates on Monday has been released from a local hospital, the Pirates announced Tuesday.
Apr 21, 2015 4:50 pm
The head of Friends of the Parks, the group suing the city over plans to build the George Lucas museum on the lakefront and threatening a suit if the Obama presidential library is built in a public pa...
Apr 21, 2015 3:11 pm
A mystery buyer paid $7 million March 31 for a two-story, 4,934-square-foot house on Lake Michigan in Wilmette.
Apr 21, 2015 1:49 pm
Another star-studded food and wine festival is headed to Chicago, this time in August, and tickets are going on sale today.
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