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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 21, 2014 6:15 pm
Catholics throughout the Chicago area flocked to their churches on Sunday mindful that their church is on the cusp of a new era.
Sep 21, 2014 5:46 pm
CHICAGO McDonald's Corp.'s build-your-own- burger experiment, under way in four Southern California restaurants, could be coming to many more locations as the chain seeks to pull out of the worst sal...
Sep 21, 2014 5:35 pm
Former Ravens star running back appealing indefinite suspensionFormer Ravens star running back appealing indefinite suspension
Sep 21, 2014 4:43 pm
Suddenly, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has Riccardo Muti almost entirely to itself.
Sep 21, 2014 4:08 pm
A body was pulled from the waters of Lake Michigan this morning in the Streeterville neighborhood.
Sep 21, 2014 2:27 pm
Sierra Leone's nationwide round-the-clock curfew, designed to halt the spread of the Ebola virus, triggered a clash in the streets Saturday as residents attacked a burial team clad in biohazard suits,...
Sep 21, 2014 1:53 pm
President Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday no ransom was paid for the release of Turkish hostages held by Islamic State in Iraq and that it was the result of diplomatic and political negotiation.
Sep 21, 2014 1:00 pm
Months after declaring an Islamic caliphate, Islamic State, which has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq, is seeking to address a need of any viable nation: women.
Sep 21, 2014 12:25 pm
Survivors of German victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 downed over Ukraine plan to sue the country and its president for manslaughter by negligence in 298 cases, the lawyer representing them sa...
Sep 21, 2014 12:03 pm
When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walked from behind a stage curtain on a recent Friday afternoon, a huge roar went up from the jammed auditorium at George Washington University.
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