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Illinois



Illinois constitutes the 21st state of the United States, located in the former Northwest Territory. Its name was given by the state′s French explorers after the indigenous Illiniwek people, a consortium of Algonquin tribes that thrived in the area. The word Illiniwek means simply "the people."

The capital of Illinois is Springfield, while its largest city is Chicago.

History

Pre-Columbian

Cahokia, the urban center of the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. That civilization vanished circa 1400–1500 for unknown reasons. The next major power in the region was the Illiniwek Confederation, a political alliance among several tribes. The Illiniwek gave Illinois its name. The Illini suffered in the seventeenth century as Iroquois expansion forced them to compete with several tribes for land. The Illini were replaced in Illinois by the Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, and other tribes.

European exploration

French explorers Jacques Marquette, S.J., and Louis Joliet explored the Illinois River in 1673. As a result of their exploration, Illinois was part of the French empire until 1763, when it passed to the British. George Rogers Clark claimed the Illinois Country for the Commonwealth of Virginia during his military campaigns there in 1778. The area was ceded to the new United States in 1783 and became part of the Northwest Territory.

The 1800s

The Illinois-Wabash Company was an early claimant to much of Illinois. The Illinois Territory was created on February 3, 1809. In 1818, Illinois became the 21st U.S. state. Early U.S. settlement began in the south part of the state and quickly spread northward, driving out the native residents. With the 1832 Black Hawk War, the last native tribes were driven out of northern Illinois.

The winter of 1830-1831 is called the "Winter of the Deep Snow". A sudden, deep snowfall blanketed the State, making travel impossible for the rest of the winter. Travelers lucky enough to find shelter had to stay where they were. Many others perished. Several severe winters followed, including the "Winter of the Sudden Freeze". On December 20, 1836, a fast-moving cold front passed through, freezing puddles in minutes, killing many travelers who could not reach shelter. The adverse weather resulted in crop failures in the northern part of the State. The resulting exodus toward the southern part of the State contributed to its name: "Egypt".

As early as 1840, Illinois was called the "Sucker State". There are at least three stories behind this name. The first is that, because much of the early population of the State bought land, site unseen, from East Coast land speculators, the population was a bunch of "suckers". One problem with this version is whether the term "sucker" had this meaning as early as 1840. The second story is that, in order to survive on the prairie, early settlers had to obtain water by sucking it through a hollow reed out of a crawdad hole. This also seems unlikely. For one thing, there is no documentation that people actually engaged in this disgusting practice. The early settlers avoided the prairie, and settled along creeks. Moreover, water was plentiful on the Prairie.

A third version of the "Sucker Story" is that some of the earliest American settlers worked the mines in Galena, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, in the far northwest corner of the State. At first mining was a seasonal occupation, the miners traveling north on the River in the Spring, and returning in the Fall. The migration of the miners corresponded with the seasonal migration of "suckers", a type of fish. The problem with this version is that the fish today known as a "sucker" does not make this migration. Furthermore, nobody has identified any other fish that made such a migration.

Illinois is known as the "Land of Lincoln" because it is here that the 16th President spent most of his life, practicing law and living in Springfield.

Chicago gained prominence as a canal port after 1848, and as a rail hub soon afterward. By 1857, Chicago was Illinois′ largest city.

The Civil War

During the Civil War, over 250,000 Illinois men served in the Union Army, more than any other northern state except New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Beginning with President Lincoln′s first call for troops and continuing throughout the war, Illinois mustered 150 infantry regiments, which were numbered from the 7th IL to the 156th IL. Seventeen cavalry regiments were also gathered, as well as two light artillery regiments.

State symbols

  • State animal: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
  • State bird: Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
  • State capital: Springfield
  • State dance: Square dance
  • State fish: Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
  • State flower: Purple violet (Viola sororia)
  • State fossil: Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium)
  • State insect: Monarch butterfly
  • State mineral: Fluorite
  • State motto: "State sovereignty, national union"
  • State prairie grass: Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
  • State slogan: "Land of Lincoln"
  • State snack: Popcorn
  • State soil: Drummer Silty Clay Loam
  • State song: "Illinois"
  • State tree: White oak (Quercus alba)

ILLINOIS COUNTIES


Mchenry
Lake
Cook
Dupage
Kane
Dekalb
Ogle
Will
Grundy
Livingston
La Salle
Kendall
Lee
Kankakee
Iroquois
Ford
Vermilion
Champaign
Jo Daviess
Boone
Stephenson
Carroll
Winnebago
Whiteside
Rock Island
Mercer
Henry
Bureau
Putnam
Marshall
Knox
Mcdonough
Fulton
Warren
Henderson
Stark
Hancock
Peoria
Schuyler
Woodford
Mason
Tazewell
Mclean
Logan
Dewitt
Macon
Piatt
Douglas
Coles
Moultrie
Edgar
Shelby
Madison
Calhoun
Macoupin
Fayette
Montgomery
Greene
Jersey
Saint Clair
Christian
Bond
Washington
Clinton
Randolph
Monroe
Perry
Adams
Pike
Brown
Effingham
Wabash
Crawford
Lawrence
Richland
Clark
Cumberland
Jasper
Clay
Wayne
Edwards
Sangamon
Morgan
Scott
Cass
Menard
Marion
Franklin
Jefferson
Hamilton
White
Williamson
Gallatin
Jackson
Union
Johnson
Massac
Alexander
Saline
Hardin
Pope
Pulaski

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