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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
Sep 18, 2014 4:27 am
The NFL remains under heavy fire with high-profile player misconduct creating a cyclone of negative publicity.
Sep 18, 2014 4:22 am
After a relatively tame summer which, incidentally, is a good thing for an NHL team that isn't celebrating a Stanley Cup championship the Blackhawks are set to open training camp.
Sep 18, 2014 3:55 am
Outfit enforcer Mario Rainone, who once threatened to cut off the head of a guy he was shaking down for cash, is still squeamish about some things.
Sep 18, 2014 2:03 am
Lawyers for a Chicago man charged with illegally lobbying on behalf of the oppressive regime in Zimbabwe want to cross-examine Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter about a cash bribe that was allegedly p...
Sep 18, 2014 12:40 am
In the moments before he steps on a five-eighths-of-an-inch high wire to cross the Chicago River on Nov. 2, Nik Wallenda will pray with family and tell them he will see them in a couple of hours.
Sep 18, 2014 12:35 am
This looks like a time to pile on Brandon Marshall for a past that includes abusing women.
Sep 18, 2014 12:18 am
(Reuters) - A woman convicted of the 2004 starving death of a 9-year-old boy was executed on Wednesday by lethal injection at a Texas state prison, authorities said.
Sep 17, 2014 11:30 pm
Almost half of U.S. airline passengers this summer passed through expedited security, a sign that pre-screening is becoming the norm, the chief of the Transportation Security Administration said Wedne...
Sep 17, 2014 9:38 pm
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve President Barack Obama's plan to arm and train Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State, a major part of his campaig...
Sep 17, 2014 9:13 pm
Bears columnist Brad Biggs tackles readers' questions.
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