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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
May 27, 2015 7:17 pm
Taste of Chicago will have a bit of James Beard flavor this year.
May 27, 2015 7:16 pm
Bears Chairman George McCaskey addressed the team's signing and subsequent release of Ray McDonald on Wednesday at Halas Hall, saying he has been second-guessing his decision to approve the move and q...
May 27, 2015 6:29 pm
Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to overhaul the workers' compensation system for employees injured on the job, the latest rejection of the Republican's pro-business,...
May 27, 2015 6:28 pm
WFLD-Ch. 32 chief meteorologist Bill Bellis and his wife, Julie, paid $725,000 late last month for a three-bedroom duplex penthouse in Wrigleyville.
May 27, 2015 5:22 pm
Chuck Swirsky has been through just about everything during his long broadcast career. Still, his mind was racing after being confronted with a unique set of challenges Monday in calling the White Sox...
May 27, 2015 5:01 pm
For more than 15 years, Mike Arians has been investigating an unsolved double homicide that occurred on a lovers' lane in his scenic river town in 1948. On Thursday in a cemetery west of Rockford, he ...
May 27, 2015 4:46 pm
Ah, the irony.
May 27, 2015 3:59 pm
Chicago police said Wednesday they have reunited a man missing on Monday in the Loop with his family.
May 27, 2015 3:54 pm
Former Chicago Bull Rick Brunson is expected to stand trial on charges of sexual abuse this Friday, May 29, after his trial date was pushed back during a hearing Wednesday.
May 27, 2015 2:15 pm
For many of us who survived the 1970s, our first experience with hanging chads came while voting on those rectangular ballots for baseballs All-Star game.
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