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Illinois ( (listen) IL-ə-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River, through the Illinois Waterway. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is located in the central part of the state. Although today Illinois's largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled lands near the Mississippi River, when the region was known as Illinois Country and was part of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was incorporated in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, and new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.

By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in the state, including Chicago, who founded the city's famous jazz and blues cultures. Chicago, the center of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, is now recognized as a global city. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses about 65% of the state's population. The most populous metropolitan areas outside the Chicago area include, Metro East (of Greater St. Louis), Peoria and Rockford.

Three U.S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was born and raised in the state. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954. The state is the site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and the future home of the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

Illinois Media

4,800 media by topicpage 1 of 48
Map and Text Describing the Location of Fort Armstrong on Rock Island, Illinois

Map and Text Describing the Location of Fort Armstrong on Rock Island,...

"Fortifications Map File" Plans of Military Forts

A map of Illinois

A map of Illinois

Committee Papers of the House Committee on Public Lands of the 24th Congress Relating to Various Subjects

Crothers, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Flynn, Mary A - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Fuller, A C - State: Illinois - Year: 1861
Friend, M D - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Hirtley, Robert - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Alexander, H K - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Evans, Robert L - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Wood, F D - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Huffaker, J K - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Brunson, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: 1861
Byrns, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Wimble, W H - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Beck, Lewis - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Greer, William - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
McDaniel, A T - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Grenshaw, J S - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
McDaniel, John W - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
McDaniel, James H - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Finney, W C - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Huckstep, Mary - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Merkley, W H - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Patten, J H - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Weeks, J F - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Hawkins, Jacob S - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Puet, Lary - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Wilson, Andrew J - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Brennell, L C - State: Illinois - Year: [Blank]
Cate, Daniel D - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Morrison, Henry - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Connelly, Wm H - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Pierce, Horatio - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Wooley, A C - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Cook, Sarah - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Parsons, John F - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Meylin, N - State: Illinois - Year: 1862

Meylin, N - State: Illinois - Year: 1862

Papers Relating to Citizens

Boyle, Cady - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Coyner, George - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
Farris, Robert P - State: Illinois - Year: 1862
McCoy, William A - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Wallace, N S - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Kimball, J W - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Strabe, John - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Whalen, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Waterman, Wm - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Fitzsimmons, Robt - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Moore, C C - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Dougherty, W A - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Hays, John P - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Theodgsia, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
McChesney, James E - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Weeks, Jerome F - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Loche, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Yonster, Jacob - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Godfrey, A W - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Waters, C O - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Holsen, Oliver - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Barnes, Henry - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Conklin, C W - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Green, W Duff - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Guard, J L - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Turner, [Blank] - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Whalen, John - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Dural, H - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Dural, H - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Papers Relating to Citizens

Wykoff, L H - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Colman, Francis - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Neff, J H - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Neff, J H - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Papers Relating to Citizens

Ayres, Wm - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Ayres, Wm - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Papers Relating to Citizens

Chase, J F - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Henderson, Perry - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Treat, A H - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Post, William - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Norton, N S - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Parmerter, John - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Beckwith, Saml - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Beckwith, Nancy - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Remmington, H R - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Watt, J - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Watt, J - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Papers Relating to Citizens

McFaden, Joseph - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Barney, Henry - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Rennington, H R - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Bartholomew, Wm - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Dye, H L - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Dye, H L - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Papers Relating to Citizens

Merrill, E F - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Warriner, H A - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Gilbert, Chap R - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Hollman, Edward E - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Chambers, John M - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Bolls, W J - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Yerkes, Jane N - State: Illinois - Year: 1863
Hile, J W - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Hile, J W - State: Illinois - Year: 1863

Papers Relating to Citizens

[Sketch map of Smithland and vicinity] Drawn by U. G. Scheller [?] Engineer.
Dove, W W - State: Illinois - Year: 1864

Dove, W W - State: Illinois - Year: 1864

Papers Relating to Citizens

Greenfield, J B - State: Illinois - Year: 1864
Newcomb, M A - State: Illinois - Year: 1864

U.S. National Archives

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