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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 23, 2014 5:46 am
The United States and several Gulf Arab allies launched air and missile strikes on Islamic State strongholds in Syria on Tuesday, U.S. officials said, opening a new, far more complicated front in the ...
Sep 23, 2014 3:37 am
Chicago officials are expected to unveil a plan Tuesday to more than double the number of taxicabs that are accessible to people with disabilities by the end of 2018.
Sep 23, 2014 2:03 am
Chicago's next archbishop said Monday that Catholics should make poverty more of a priority, both locally to help the city's poor and nationally, where his bishop colleagues can keep the issue front a...
Sep 23, 2014 12:58 am
The Republican challenger trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth tried to tie her to the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal during a joint appearance Monday.The Republican challeng...
Sep 22, 2014 11:52 pm
Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner on Monday avoided questions about his ties to a troubled nursing home chain, while a federal trial in Florida began hearing evidence on claims that Rauners o...
Sep 22, 2014 11:51 pm
Accustomed to train delays, Metra riders shouldn't be shocked to learn that a long-promised test of "paperless" ticketing has been pushed back again.
Sep 22, 2014 11:46 pm
The Obama administration on Monday issued a string of new rules that seek to crack down on U.S. companies that seek to cut their tax bills by moving their addresses abroad.
Sep 22, 2014 11:33 pm
Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and...
Sep 22, 2014 10:23 pm
Barbara McNeal doesn't know what to think of the charges against her next-door neighbor, Chicago Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans, accused of placing the barrel of his gun into a suspects mouth.
Sep 22, 2014 8:39 pm
Julia Child dispatched millions of hungry Americans into the kitchen with a cheery "bon appetit!" The U.S. Postal Service is surely banking on those same fans trooping down to their local po...
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