JBA Network
(Location, Name, Category, or Keyword)   Advanced Search
Illinois, US (Population: 12,831,970)
State Capitol: Springfield

Major Cities: Chicago, Rockford, Aurora, Naperville, Peoria, Joliet, Elgin, Waukegan, Cicero

State Nickname/Motto: Prairie State- State Sovereignty, National Union

Statehood Granted: December 3, 1818

History: Cahokia, the urban center of the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. That civilization vanished in the 15th century for unknown reasons. The next major power in the region was the Illiniwek Confederation, or Illini, a political alliance among several tribes. There were about 25,000 Illinois Indians in 1700. Members of the Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, and other tribes also inhabited the area during the westward movement of the European settlers from the east and north. In the American Revolution, the Illinois and Potawatomi supported the American cause. As a result of French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet exploration of the Illinois River in 1673 it became part of the French empire until 1763, when it passed to the British. The small French settlements continued; a few British soldiers were posted in Illinois but there were no British or American settlers. In 1778 George Rogers Clark claimed the Illinois Country for Virginia. The area was ceded by Virginia to the new United States in 1783 and became part of the Northwest Territory.

Geography: Highest point: Charles Mound; 1,235 feet. Though Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains, it has three major geographical divisions. The first is Northern Illinois, dominated by the Chicago metropolitan area, including the city of Chicago, its suburbs, and the adjoining exurban area into which the metropolis is expanding. Southward and westward, the second major division is Central Illinois, an area of mostly flat prairie. Known as the Heart of Illinois, it is characterized by small towns and mid-sized cities. The western section (west of the Illinois River) was originally part of the Military Tract of 1812 and forms the distinctive western bulge of the state.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race 98.5%), White (72.2%), Black or African American 14.5%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.2%), Asian 4.1%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race (7.5%), Two or more races 1.5%), Hispanic or Latino (14.5%)*

Famous State People:
  • Jane Addams (1860 - 1935) Earned a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in helping the inner city poor; born in Cedarville.
  • Black Hawk (1767 - 1838) Sauk leader who led the Indians in the black Hawk War; born near Rock Island.
  • Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 - 2000) The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Price; grew up in Chicago.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947 - ) Lawyer, politician, First Lady to President Bill Clinton, First Lady elected to the United States Senate; born in Chicago.
  • John Deere (1804 - 1886) Invented the first successful steel plow; born in Vermont lived in Grand Detour.
  • Walt Disney (1901 - 1966) Creator of Mickey Mouse and founder of the Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Theme Parks; born in Chicago.
  • Marshall Field (1834-1906) Established the Marshall Field & Company store that became the largest retail business in the world at that time; lived in Chicago.
  • Harrison Ford (1942 - ) Actor made famous in Star Wars and as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels; born in Chicago.
  • George Ferris (1859 - 1896) Inventor of the Ferris wheel; born in Galesburg.
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) Nobel Prize winning author; born in Oak Park.
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) The 16th President of the United States; moved from Kentucky to New Salem at the age of 21.
  • Marlee Matlin (1965 - ) The youngest recipient (21) to win an Oscar for an acting role; born in Morton Grove.
  • Bill Murray (1950 - ) Actor made famous in Saturday Night Live and movies such as Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day; born in Evanston.
  • Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911 - ) The 40th President of the United States; born in Tampico.
  • Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967) Pulitzer Prize winning author of Abraham Lincoln; The War Years; born in Galesburg.
  • Shel Silvertstein (1932 - 1999 ) Author of children’s books such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree; from Chicago.
  • Robin Williams (1952 - ) Actor made famous in the television show Mork and Mindy and movies such as Patch Adams and Toys; born in Chicago.
  • Miles Davis (1926 - 1991) Trumpeter, Composer, Bandleader, and Artist; born in Alton.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, and Western Illinois University. Illinois supports 49 public community colleges in the Illinois Community College System, as well as dozens of small, private, colleges and universities.

    State Parks: Anderson Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area, Apple River Canyon State, Park, Argyle Lake State Park, Big River State Forest, Castle Rock State Park, Delabar State Park ,Depue State Fish & Wildlife Area, Donnelley State Wildlife Area, Franklin Creek State Park, Green River State Wildlife Area. Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Illini State Park, Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park, Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park, LaSalle Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area, Lowden State Park, Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area, Marshall State Fish & Wildlife Area, Matthiessen State Park, Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, Mississippi Palisades State Park, Iroquois State Wildlife Area , Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Lincoln Trail State Park, Sand Ridge State Forest, Sanganois State Fish & Wildlife Area, Sangchris Lake State Recreation Area, Dixon Springs State Park, Ferne Clyffe State Park, Fort Massac State Park, Giant City State Park, Golconda Marina State Recreation Area, and Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area.

    Misc: Illinois is ranked second in corn production among U.S. states, and Illinois corn is used to produce 40% of the ethanol consumed in the United States. The Archer Daniels Midland corporation in Decatur, Illinois is the world's leading producer of ethanol from corn. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the partners in the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a $500 million biofuels research project funded by petroleum giant BP. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently announced a $25 million grant program to fund the construction of five new ethanol and biodiesel plants in Illinois.

    *U.S. Census - 2005