This month’s state is Illinois. Illinois is also known as ‘The Land Of Lincoln’ and ‘The Prairie State’.
The state of Illinois is named after the French adaptation of the Algonquian language. The word apparently means ‘s/he speaks normally’. The name is alternately associated with Illiniwek, a consortium of Algonquian tribe that use to thrive in the area. Illiniwek means ’tribe of superior men’, which is frequently incorrect. But the government of Illinois chooses to say the meaning of the state name means ’tribe of superior me’. Who knows which one of the meanings of Illinois is true.
Symbols Of Illinois
Cahokia, a pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, resided in Illinois. Like the Mississippian people in Indiana, the Cahokia too disappeared off the face of the map in the 15th century.
The next culture to take over was the Illiniwek Confederation or Illini. In the 1700’s, there was 25,000 Illini but due to the attacks from the Iroquois 90% of the Illini were wiped out.
The next group of Indians that settle into Illinois were the Sauk, Potawatomi, Miami and others tribes. They came in from the east and north.
In 1673, French explorers, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, explored the Illinois River, which lead other French explorers coming to Illinois. Illinois was part of the French empire until 1763. Illinois then went into the hands of British. Due to the American colonist uprising, the British only had Illinois for a short time. Illinois became a territory of the United States. On August 26th, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state to enter the United States.
When President Lincoln first called for troops at the Civil War, Illinois sent 250,000 men to serve in the Union Army.
Illinois emerged as one of the important states during the 20th century with a population bordering around 5 million. Illinois reached over 12 million by the end of the century.
In 1957, the Argonne National Laboratory activated the first nuclear power generating system in the United States near Chicago. Chicago became an ocean port with the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959. In 1960, Dresden 1, the first privately finance nuclear plant, was dedicated near Morris, Illinois. In 1960, Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise in Des Plaines (which still exists today as a museum, with a working McDonald's across the street).
In 1985, the first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign, Illinois to benefit the American farmers.
In 2008, Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama was elected our 44th president. He is also the first African-American president. He is also the third president that came from Illinois.
If you are interested a more detail history of Illinois, you can go to the following links. The sites will take you to other links pertaining to Illinois history like The Great Chicago Fire, The Great Flood of 1993, The Blackhawk War, etc.
- Former President Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois.
- Politics in the state of Illinois, particularly Chicago area, have been famous for highly visible corruption cases. Here are two of them. In 1912, William Lorimer, the GOP boss of Chicago, was expelled from the U.S. Senate for bribery. In 1921, Governor Len Small (R) was found to have defrauded the state of a million dollars.
Illinois is an important agricultural state. The main agricultural produces are soybeans and corn. The other major crops of Illinois includes hay, wheat, and sorghum. Hogs and cattle are the principal sources of farm income.
Beneath the fertile topsoil of Illinois lies mineral wealth, including fluorspar, bituminous coal, and oil. Illinois ranks high among the states in the production of coal. Its reserves are greater than any other states east of the Rocky Mts.
Illinois manufactures are electrical and nonelectrical machinery, food products, fabricated and primary metal products, chemicals, printed and published materials.
Illinois is the leading refiner of petroleum in the Midwestern states. It is also ranked 14th in oil production in the states.
Illinois is ranked first in nuclear generating capacity among the 31 states with nuclear plants. Almost half of Illinois electricity is generated by nuclear plants.
Metropolitan Chicago, the country's leading rail center, is also a major industrial, as well as a commercial and financial center. Chicago also host most of the professional sports in Illinois.
Decatur is one of the leading producers of ethanol from corn.
- Illinois has numerous museums. The state of the art Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is the largest presidential library in the country.
- There are numerous museums in the city of Chicago. These include the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry. The Museum of Science and Industry is the only building remaining from the 1893 Columbian Exposition held in Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the new world.
- The Illinois state park system began in 1908 with Fort Massac State Park. Fort Massac State Park became the first park in a system, encompassing over 60 parks and about the same number of recreational and wildlife areas.
- The areas protected and controlled under the National Park Service include the Illinois And Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, The Lewis And Clark National Historic Trail, the Lincoln Home National Historic, the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, the Trail Of Tear’s National Historic Trail and the Kickapoo State Park.