Illinois Facts

Illinois is a 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 initially 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 state’s capital city is Springfield, and the largest city is Chicago.

2. The area that is now Native American tribes have occupied Illinois 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. In the Civil War (1861-1865), Illinois did not fight any major battles, but more than 250,000 soldiers fought for the Union.

7. Fire swept through Chicago, Illinois, in 1871, causing significant 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.

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 when European explorers first visited the area and gave the land the name Illinois.

14. Grassy prairies covered most of the state, giving it the name Prairie State. That 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 makes 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. In addition, this state has many beautiful wildflowers, including the Illinois bundle flower, 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!

23. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry 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 Lincoln statue in Springfield; visitors can tour the Lincoln home.

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