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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
Nov 24, 2014 7:15 pm
A Missouri grand jury has made a decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, a killing that sparked angry protests in the St. L...
Nov 24, 2014 6:36 pm
Tickets went on sale at Noon Monday for a surprise show by The Smashing Pumpkins Wednesday, Thanksgiving eve, at the relatively intimate Thalia Hall.
Nov 24, 2014 6:34 pm
The National Weather Service warned of slippery travel conditions as rain turned to bands of snow in the Chicago area Monday afternoon, with more than a hundred flights delayed at O'Hare and Midway ai...
Nov 24, 2014 6:07 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Bulls limped into town with continued uncertainty about the availability of injured veterans Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Kirk Hinrich for Monday night's game against the Jaz...
Nov 24, 2014 5:12 pm
Leaving work early Wednesday? Consider skipping out right after lunch.
Nov 24, 2014 4:52 pm
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned on Monday, the first major change to President Barack Obama's Cabinet since his Democrats were routed in midterm elections three weeks ago.
Nov 24, 2014 4:41 pm
Ald. Bob Fioretti filed his petitions Monday morning to take on Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February city election, saying he wants to make sure "the people are heard" despite the mayor's huge...
Nov 24, 2014 4:18 pm
Some of the pieces of Wrigley Field that were removed during its renovation are now for sale.
Nov 24, 2014 4:13 pm
Chicago-based United Airlines will add a direct flight from Chicago to Dublin, Ireland, for next summer.
Nov 24, 2014 4:00 pm
Mushrooms! Theyre Mother Natures toe jam. But theyre also prized and delicious, and their meaty savoriness is a fine dance partner with a burger. This month, we sample three sandwiches one beef, one ...
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