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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
Mar 29, 2015 7:24 pm
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the new state law that's garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination against gays and lesbians and said Sunday it wasn't a mistake to ha...
Mar 29, 2015 7:22 pm
Thousands of runners, joggers and walkers wound their way through the city, from Grant Park over the Chicago River, through the Loop and back to the park wearing exercise gear, tutus, masks, wigs and ...
Mar 29, 2015 7:19 pm
Ten years after leaving for Virginia, Dave Leitao will return to DePaul as the men's basketball coach, the Tribune confirmed on Sunday.
Mar 29, 2015 7:13 pm
A day after the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that Cardinal Francis George was back in the hospital, Archbishop Blase Cupich said that his predecessor was in good spirits.
Mar 29, 2015 5:39 pm
When Ken Ender was in college, he was initially a C-minus student who was more interested in track than school. Eventually, he said he realized how important school was to get what he wanted out of li...
Mar 29, 2015 3:59 pm
Stressed by pension debt, other financial issues and the possibility losing a chunk of their state aid, some Illinois cities want the option to file for bankruptcy. They've found an ally in a Republic...
Mar 29, 2015 2:55 pm
An Air Canada plane made an "abrupt" landing and skidded off the runway at the Halifax airport in bad weather, and officials said Sunday 23 people were taken to a hospital for observation an...
Mar 29, 2015 11:54 am
Rifle fire from the gun range below punctuated Jerry Kaus directions to the 17 children on how to shoot. The kids, as young as 7, sat riveted behind long tables. The floor tingled with each shot.
Mar 29, 2015 5:54 am
Embarrassed to be a Hoosier?
Mar 29, 2015 5:00 am
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday will showcase a new endorsement in his bid for a second term from one of his chief antagonists former mayoral candidate and outgoing 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti.
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