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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 27, 2015 5:40 am
An apparent gas explosion leveled an apartment building, largely destroyed another and launched rubble and shards of glass across streets in the heart of Manhattan's trendy East Village on Thursday, i...
Mar 27, 2015 2:34 am
Released from a federal prison in Alabama on Thursday, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. drove with family members to a Baltimore halfway house.
Mar 27, 2015 2:15 am
Passengers with moments to live screamed in terror and the pilot frantically pounded on the locked cockpit door as a 27-year-old German co-pilot deliberately and wordlessly smashed an Airbus carrying ...
Mar 27, 2015 1:49 am
An investigation found that a San Francisco sheriffs deputy who has been the subject of two sexual assault lawsuits forced inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and at least one other d...
Mar 27, 2015 1:23 am
The monetary value of a college athlete's name, image and likeness is being hashed out in court, but many universities have already arrived at a figure: zero.
Mar 26, 2015 10:22 pm
Open letter to my neighborhood Walgreens:
Mar 26, 2015 9:49 pm
Federal prosecutors in Utah have charged a man from west suburban Geneva with sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy during a flight from Chicago to San Diego.
Mar 26, 2015 9:22 pm
A pickup truck crashed into the front wall of a restaurant Thursday afternoon in the small village of Big Rock in Kane County, injuring the driver and two workers in the kitchen, police said.
Mar 26, 2015 8:22 pm
An article in the current issue ofFortune profiling what the magazine considers the worlds 50 greatest leaders includes former Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Daniel Barenboim. The Argentini...
Mar 26, 2015 7:56 pm
Mason Foster emerged from free agency upbeat. Sure, the one-year contract he signed with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday was not nearly as lucrative as one he might have earned if injuries didnt hamper...
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