Illinois Facts

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, was nourishing the future U.S. president and it gave him his early start toward great world fame. Illinois offers many archaeological treasures such as the most extensive primitive earthworks in the nation, and the one-of-a-kind Piasa bird.

Because it is so centrally located, and as it has easy access to both the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, the state of Illinois boasts the most impressive concentration of transportation facilities by water, land, or air, in the entire world.

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Illinois’ Chicago area is ranking as the number one U.S. region for manufacturing, and the state is also leading the nation when it comes to producing foodstuffs, in particular soybeans and corn. Of the world’s tallest structures, three are rising high above Chicago’s skyline which has often been praised as the most beautiful in the world.

The vast concentration of great attractions on Michigan Avenue’s northern section has given Chicago, the Windy City, also the nickname of “Magnificent Mile.’

As Nathaniel Pope (Illinois territorial delegate to Congress) said:
…. This state will have a government that has better prospects than in any other state. We have the world’s best soil, a fine and mild climate, a big state that has ample funds in order to be able to educate all children in our state…

Quick Facts about Illinois

– World’s biggest transportation center.
– World’s busiest airport (Chicago’s O’Hare).
– World’s very first skyscraper tower.
– World’s highest building for a long time (Sears Tower).
– Principal U.S. printing center.
– Pioneer city of commercial TV.
– Nation’s leader city in mail-order sales.

Author and Journalist Clyde Brion Davis wrote:
…. Of all U.S. states, Illinois may be the most American. The state is like the entire U.S.A in one capsule. Illinois’ capacity for all that’s related to greatness is just as limitless as its undulating corn fields sweep…


In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet expedition took the first European settlers to Illinois.
– In 1699, a few French priests established Cahokia, Illinois’ oldest European settlement.
– Upon surrendering North America, in 1765, the French Fort de Chartres Flag was the last that would be lowered on the North American continent.
– In the period 1765 – 1778, the British had a very weak rule, and Illinois was becoming a lawless “Wild West” state.
– In 1778, at the time of the Revolution, General Rogers Clark and his men captured Kaskaskia.
– The Territory of Illinois was established in 1809, and the governor was the highly popular Ninian Edwards.
– The small settlement of Fort Dearborn (the area now known as Chicago), was ordered to evacuate during the War of 1812. All residents were then massacred by the Indian Potawatomi Tribe.
– Illinois was allowed into the Union on December 3, 1818, as the 21st state.
– When in 1932, Sauk and Fox Chief Black Hawk was trying to reclaim tribal lands, the Black Hawk War started off. In April of that year, his tribal forces initially were winning the small Battle of Stillman’s Run, but later, he was defeated in Wisconsin.
– In 1837, Chicago became an incorporated city with a population of around 4,000.
– when in 1844 Joseph Smith (the leader of the Mormon movement) was killed there, the city of Nauvoo was Illinois’ largest. The Mormons went West, and the city of Nauvoo slowly was turning into a ghost town.
– Around 1845, the region around Galena was America’s leading lead supplier, and the town itself now was Illinois’ largest city, but by 1850, the boom of the mining industry had about died out.
– 1858 was the year that Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln got engaged in a number of debates that directly resulted in Lincoln’s national prominence, and in 1861, Lincoln, as President-elect, left Springfield. In 1865, on February 14th, President Lincoln was shot, and he had died the next day. Lincoln in Illinois, was actually the only city named for Lincoln while he was living.
– In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant from Galena was elected president. He was re-elected in 1872.
– In 1871, a great fire destroyed Chicago for the major part, but before all ashes had the chance to die down, the citizens already started to rebuild it.
– The 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition was a magnificent happening that drew visitors from all across the world.
– In 1900, a feat of world-class engineering occurred when the Chicago River was reversed so the city could dispose of all it’s sewage water. Another idea was the creation of a water route that went all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
– During World War I, more than 350,000 Illinois residents had served in the American armed forces.
– In 1942, on December 2nd, University of Chicago scientists, for the first time in the world, mastered the power of the nuclear chain reaction of atoms.
– The Democratic National Convention’s riots of 1968 brought Chicago notoriety.
– In 1974, Chicago’s Sears Tower was opened as the world’s tallest construction.
– 1978 was the year that Hannah Gray became president of the University of Chicago. This was the first time that a woman became president of a leading U.S. university.
– In 1987, on November 25th, Chicago’s first colored mayor, Harold Washington, died in his office of a heart attack.
– In 1992, African-American Carol Moseley-Braun, was the first woman of color that was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Louis Jolliet wrote:
… Definitely suitable and most beautiful land for a settlement. Settlers won’t need to devote many years of their lives to cut down and burn the trees. The same day they would arrive, they could use their plows in this land, giving them more time for finding food and clothing in this country…