Illinois Facts


Illinois is the state in the Midwest with a population of more than 12.3 million people and is located along both banks of the Illinois River in the north-central United States. Since its official founding in 1818, it was originally called Illinois Territory before becoming a state in 1821. It transitioned to being a free state from a slave state as a result of the American Civil War after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery. Today, Illinois is one of America's most influential states, especially in politics.

Below, you are going to discover some fascinating facts about Illinois.

1. The capital city of the state is Springfield, and the largest city is Chicago.

2. The area that is now Illinois has been occupied by Native American tribes for at least 10,000 years.

3. In 1673, French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet became the first Europeans to reach the area.

4. Louisiana, a French colony, incorporated Illinois into their territory in 1717.


5. Following the French and Indian War, Britain seized the region from the French in 1763. As a territory of the United States following the American Revolution, Illinois was declared the 21st state in 1818.

6. There were no major battles fought in Illinois during the Civil War (1861-1865), but more than 250,000 Illinois soldiers fought for the Union.

7. Fire swept through Chicago, Illinois in 1871, causing a great deal of damage. Following the Great Chicago Fire, Chicago was rebuilt into the world's first skyscraper city.

8. The 13th amendment to abolish slavery was passed by Illinois as the first state to ratify it.

9. Although Ronald Reagan grew up in Dixon, IL, he was born in Tampico.

10. Nuclear power is generated more in Illinois than anywhere else in the country.

11. Located at 1,235 feet, Charles Mound is the highest point in Illinois.

12. Farmland covers nearly 80% of the state's surface.

13. Native American tribes lived on the lands at the time European explorers first visited the area and gave the land the name Illinois.

14. The state had been dubbed Prairie State because most of it was covered in prairie grass. This is similar to the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

15. Wisconsin lies on Illinois' northern border; Lake Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky on the east; Kentucky and Missouri on the south; and Missouri and Iowa on the west.

16. There are fertile plains and low hills throughout most of the state, which make up the Central Plains.

17. On the southern end of the state, there is a hilly coastal plain. The fertile delta along the Nile reminds many people of Egypt.

18. This state is populated with mammals such as black bears, bobcats, and white-tailed deer.

19. Many trees grow in Massachusetts, such as box elders, red maples, pawpaws, and sweet gums. This state has many beautiful wildflowers, including the Illinois bundle flower, the Illinois rose, and the leopard lily.

20. Corn, soybeans, and apples are among Illinois' top crops.

21. Some of the most famous Illinoisans include Hillary Clinton, Carol Moseley Braun, Michelle Obama, and Betty Friedan, an activist for women's rights.

22. Chicago-style popcorn, covered with cheese and caramel, is the state's official snack food!

chicago style hot dog

23. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago hosts the world's largest pinball machine.

24. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.

25. Lincoln lived in Illinois for 31 years, thus making Illinois the Land of Lincoln. There is a statue of Lincoln in Springfield and visitors can tour the Lincoln home.

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