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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

A farm in Illinois
A farm in Illinois

Illinois [1] is a state in the Midwest of the United States of America.

Illinois regions
Illinois regions
Central Illinois
Northern Illinois
Saint Louis Metro East
Southern Illinois
Western Illinois
  • Springfield, the capital of Illinois
  • Alton, near St. Louis, MO about middle of western state border
  • Bloomington-Normal, home of Illinois State University, Illinois Weslyan University and the grave site of Adlai Stevenson.
  • Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University
  • Champaign-Urbana, home of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Chicago, the largest city in the Midwest, and other cities in the Chicagoland area
  • Galena, charming historical town
  • Joliet, with casinos, a speedway and the state's most infamous prison
  • Nauvoo, founded by Joseph Smith, has Smith's grave, a huge Mormon temple, and the oldest winery in IL
  • Peoria, the classic Midwestern "Everytown"
Monk's Mound at Cahokia
Monk's Mound at Cahokia
  • Cahokia is a surprising find in Illinois - the center of a prehistoric Native American city and one of only 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the U.S.
  • Lewis and Clark Trail - Between May 1804 and September 1806, 32 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery.
  • Casino Queen and the Gateway Geyser - Both are located on the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, IL
  • Shawnee National Forest
  • Starved Rock State Park
  • Ferne Clyffe State Park
  • Kickapoo State Park
  • Pere Marquette State Park
  • Anna, located along Shawnee Hills Wine Trail


Illinois is a mostly flat plains state, with the majority being farmland except for the river valleys and the south, which are hilly and forested.


English is the dominant language in the state of Illinois. Spanish is also widely spoken in the Chicago Metropolitan area by its large Hispanic population. Spanish is also spoken in the outskirts of Chicago. Polish among other languages are also spoken within Chicago.

The Illinois Theater in Jacksonville
The Illinois Theater in Jacksonville
Chicago's many skyscrapers
Chicago's many skyscrapers

By car

Illinois is accessed through interstates 39, 90, & 94 through Wisconsin, 74 and 80 through Iowa, 55, 57, 64, 70, and 72 through Missouri, 24 through Kentucky, and 64, 70, 74, and 80 through Indiana

By train

Amtrak serves many different areas of Illinois. All routes start and end in Chicago. You can get into Chicago from virtually all directions, east coast and west coast, north and south. There are numerous daily trains to and from Milwaukee and it is reasonably fast and reliable. There is daily service (the Empire Builder) to/from from Seattle/Portland, Oregon by way of Milwaukee. You can also get in from Washington DC, New York, and Boston on various daily trains. There are many local trains that serve downstate and southern Illinois that also serve long distance locations. Those routes are as follows:

The UP line from Chicago-St. Louis serves Summit, Joliet, Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville, Alton, and finally St. Louis. There are 4 trains each day, each way. One of those trains that serves this route is the Texas Eagle, and it will bring you into Illinois from San Antonio, Dallas, Arkansas, and Missouri.

The BNSF route from Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy. Only local service serves the Quincy portion of the line. The other service is provided by 2 daily long distance trains coming from either Los Angeles (the Southwest Chief) or San Francisco via Salt Lake City and Denver (the California Zephyr).

The CN route from Chicago-Carbondale has 3 trains each way daily. One long distance train is provided each way daily and will take you to/from New Orleans via Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis.

There is also a daily train to and from Indianapolis with continuing service on certain days of the week to/from Washington D.C. There is regular daily service to/from Washington D.C. via Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

By plane

Chicago has two major airports, O'Hare and Midway. Midway is smaller and closer to the downtown. There are many other airports with regional service in the state, including in Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, and in St. Louis, across the river from Illinois.

The Baha'i Temple in Wilmette, one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois"
The Baha'i Temple in Wilmette, one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois"

Car travel is best for the majority of the state, easily accessed by interstates. Numerous highways closer to Chicago are tollways, but the rest of the highways are free. EZ-Pass users from the eastern U.S. can use their transponders on the Illinois Tollway at all toll booths. The price for EZ-Pass and I-Pass Users is half the cash price listed on the sign at the toll booth.

Train travel is another way to get around Illinois. Metra train lines serves Chicago and the surrounding suburbs and Amtrak serves significant portions of the rest of the state. While Metra trains usually run on time, Amtrak trains are more prone to running late. Check with Amtrak before making the trip.

Greyhound buses, Megabus discount buses and it's sister bus company, Coach USA, serves many Illinois locales. Chicago and the nearby suburbs are served by the PACE bus system and many large Illinois cities have bus systems of their own.



In the Loop, Chicago's commercial district with bustling elevated train tracks and great architecture:

  • Sears Tower - one of the tallest buildings in the world, it has an observation deck on the 103rd floor
  • Grant Park for musical performances and Millennium Park for summer fun
  • The Art Institute of Chicago - one of the finest art museums in the world

In the Near North:

  • John Hancock Center A bit shorter, but with a better observation deck
  • The Magnificent Mile Put simply, shoppers' paradise.
  • Navy Pier Entertainment center with many attractions including the Chicago Children's Museum, mini golf, ferris wheel, botanic gardens, and boat cruises

In the Near South, including the Museum Campus:

The Nuclear Energy Sculpture over the site of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago
The Nuclear Energy Sculpture over the site of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago
  • The Field Museum The premier natural history museum in the Midwest, with one of the best preserved T-Rex skeletons on display
  • The Adler Planetarium The first planetarium in North America
  • The Shedd Aquarium Great lakefront aquarium

In Hyde Park:

  • Museum of Science and Industry The best science museum in the Midwest, with hundreds of exhibits including a German submarine, high speed 1930s train, Boeing 727 jet, and an immense train set.
  • The University of Chicago The premier institution of learning in the Midwest
  • Springfield - The state capital has the capitol building, as well as Abraham Lincoln's tomb, home, and new presidential library. Be sure to check out the Old State Capital as well, notable for its Lincoln heritage and also as the site of U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama's declaration of Joe Biden as his running mate in the 2008 presidential race.
  • Champaign-Urbana is one of downstate Illinois's most prized cities. It is the regional capital of Illinois. It is a very urban oasis in the middle of the prairie. Outside of Chicago, it holds the state's largest ethnic population. There are many museums there. Champaign-Urbana is known for historic Memorial Stadium, where Illini Football plays, and for its nightlife.
The Senate Chamber in the Illinois Capitol at Springfield
The Senate Chamber in the Illinois Capitol at Springfield


Chicago has many specialties, the most famous of which would have to be its hot dogs and its deep dish pizza. Central Illinois is known for its Horseshoe Sandwich, an open-faced sandwich of toast, hamburger, french fries, and cheese sauce, with regional variations.


The rural water downstate, excluding municipal water but including untreated spring water has a "sulphur" taste and odor to it. It is safe to drink, but the odor and taste can be hard to swallow.

Stay safe

Areas of Illinois away from Lake Michigan — e.g., places other than Chicago — have a high occurrence of tornadoes. You might want to check the Tornado safety page if you are visiting Illinois. In March of 2006, Springfield was hit with a tornado and the city was apparently affected in every area. East St. Louis is one of the worst crime cities in the country and has little touristic interest except for the casino riverboat. Chicago is mostly safe except for certain neighborhoods that are generally along the South and West sides.

  • Wisconsin - The Dairy State borders Illinois to the north.
  • Iowa - Rural Iowa lies along Illinois' northwestern border and provides the opportunity to explore America's agricultural heartland.
  • Missouri - The home of St. Louis, the gateway to the west, is just a short journey across Illinois' southwestern border.
  • Kentucky - Located southeast of Illinois, Kentucky is known for its rolling hills, horses, and rural inhabitants, offering travelers a less-visited but tremendously beautiful destination.
  • Indiana - Illinois' eastern neighbor is home to the football tradition of Notre Dame and the Indianapolis 500.
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Map of US highlighting Illinois


From French adaptation of Algonquian ilenweewa, meaning "they speak normally."


Proper noun




  1. A state of the United States of America. Capital: Springfield. Largest city: Chicago.

Derived terms


See also



  • IPA: /ilinwa/

Proper noun

Illinois m.

  1. Illinois


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Illinois
Flag of Illinois State seal of Illinois
Flag of Illinois SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Land of Lincoln; The Prairie State
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: State sovereignty, national union
Map of the United States with Illinois highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English[1]
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Springfield
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Chicago
Largest metro areaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Chicago Metropolitan Area
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 25thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 57,918 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(140,998 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 210 miles (340 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 390 miles (629 km)
 - % water 4.0
 - Latitude 36° 58′ N to 42° 30′ N
 - Longitude 87° 30′ W to 91° 31′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 5thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 12,831,970[2]
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 223.4/sq mi 
86.27/km² (11)
 - Median incomeImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  $45,787[3] (18)
 - Highest point Charles Mound[4]
1,235 ft  (377 m)
 - Mean 600 ft  (182 m)
 - Lowest point Mississippi River[4]
279 ft  (85 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  December 3 1818 (21st)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Rod Blagojevich (D)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Richard Durbin (D)
Barack Obama (D)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations ILImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-ILImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site

The State of Illinois (pronounced IPA: /ˌɪlɨˈnɔɪ/) is a state of the United States of America, the 21st to be admitted to the Union. Illinois is the most populous and demographically diverse[5] Midwestern state and the fifth most populous in the nation. With Chicagoland in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and western Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a broad economic base. Illinois is an important transportation hub; the Port of Chicago connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River. Illinois is often viewed as a microcosm of the United States; an Associated Press analysis of 21 demographic factors determined Illinois was the "most average state,"[6] while the city of Peoria has long been a proverbial social and cultural bellweather.

Between 1300 and 1400 AD, the Mississippian city of Cahokia had a population of around 40,000, making it the largest city within the future United States until it was surpassed by Philadelphia in the 1800s. About 2,000 Native American hunters and a small number of French villagers inhabited the Illinois area at the time of the American Revolution.[7] American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s; they achieved statehood in 1818. The future metropolis of Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, one of the only natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan.[8] Railroads and John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow made central Illinois' rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, the growth of industry in northern cities and coal mining in central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, and also made the state a major arsenal in both world wars. In addition, large numbers of blacks migrated to Chicago from the South, where they formed a large community and created the city's famous jazz and blues cultures.



Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, as viewed from the John Hancock Building
Main article: Geography of Illinois
See also: List of Illinois counties and List of Illinois county name etymologies

The state is named for the French adaptation of an Algonquian language (perhaps Miami) word apparently meaning "s/he speaks normally" (Miami ilenweewa,[9][10] Proto-Algonquian *elen-, "ordinary" and -we·, "to speak").[11]

The eastern border of Illinois is Lake Michigan. Its eastern border with Indiana is all of the land west of the Wabash River, and a north-south line above Post Vincennes, or 87°31′30″ west longitude. Its northern border with Wisconsin is fixed at 42°30' north latitude. Its western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River. Its southern border with Kentucky is the Ohio River.[12]

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. As defined by the federal government, the Chicago metro area includes a few counties in Indiana and Wisconsin and stretches across much of northeastern Illinois. It is a cosmopolitan city, densely populated, industrialized, and settled by a wide variety of ethnic groups. The city of Rockford generally sits along Interstates 39 and 90 and is the state's third largest city

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. Agriculture, particularly corn and soybeans, as well as educational institutions and manufacturing centers, figure prominently. Cities include Peoria—the third largest metropolitan area in Illinois at 370,000—Springfield—the state capitalQuincy, Decatur, Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana.[13]

Illinois, showing major cities and roads

The third division is Southern Illinois, comprising the area south of U.S. Route 50, and including Little Egypt, near the juncture of the Mississippi River and Ohio River. This region can be distinguished from the other two by its warmer climate, different mix of crops (including some cotton farming in the past), more rugged topography (the southern tip is unglaciated with the remainder glaciated during the Illinoian Age and earlier ages), as well as small-scale oil deposits and coal mining. The area is a little more populated than the central part of the state with the population centered in two areas. First, the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis comprise the second most populous metropolitan area in Illinois with nearly 600,000 inhabitants, and are known collectively as the Metro-East. The second area is Williamson County, Jackson County, Franklin County, Saline County and Perry County. It is home to around 210,000 residents.[13]

The region outside of the Chicago Metropolitan area is often described as "downstate Illinois". However, residents of central and southern Illinois view their regions as geographically and culturally distinct, and do not necessarily use this term.

In extreme northwestern Illinois, the Driftless Zone, a region of unglaciated and therefore higher and more rugged topography, occupies a small part of the state. Charles Mound, located in this region, has the state's highest elevation above sea level at 1,235 feet (376 m). The highest structure in Illinois is the Sears Tower with a roof elevation of approximately 2,030 feet (619 m) above sea level. [Chicago elevation (580 ft) + tower height (1450) = 2030.]

The floodplain on the Mississippi River from Alton to the Kaskaskia River is the American Bottom, and is the site of the ancient city of Cahokia. It was a region of early German settlement, as well as the site of the first state capital, at Kaskaskia which is separated from the rest of the state by the Mississippi River.[14][13]


Because of its nearly 400 mile (640 km) length and mid-continental situation, Illinois has a widely varying climate. Most of Illinois has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa) with hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters. The southernmost part of the state, from about Carbondale southward, borders on a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa) with more moderate winters. Average yearly precipitation for Illinois varies from just over 48 inches (1,220 mm) at the southern tip to around 35 inches (890 mm) in the northern portion of the state. Normal annual snowfall exceeds 38 inches (96 cm) in Chicagoland, while the southern portion of the state normally receives less than 14 inches (35 cm).[15] The highest temperature recorded in Illinois was 117 °F (47 °C), recorded on July 14 1954, at East St. Louis, while the lowest temperature was -36 °F (-38 °C), recorded on January 5 1999, at Congerville.[16][14][13]

Illinois averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year which put it somewhat above average for number of thunderstorm days for the United States. Illinois is vulnerable to tornadoes with an average of 35 occurring annually, which puts much of the state at around 5 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles (30,000 km2) annually.[17] The deadliest tornado on record in the nation occurred largely in Illinois. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 killed 695 people in three states; 613 of the victims lived in Illinois.[18]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Illinois Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Cairo[19] 41/25 47/29 57/39 69/50 77/58 86/67 90/71 88/69 81/61 71/49 57/39 46/30
Chicago[20] 30/14 35/19 46/28 58/38 70/48 79/57 84/63 81/62 74/54 62/42 47/32 34/20
Moline[21] 30/12 36/18 48/29 62/39 73/50 83/60 86/64 84/62 76/53 64/42 48/30 34/18
Peoria[22] 31/14 37/20 49/30 62/40 73/51 82/60 86/65 84/63 77/54 64/42 49/31 36/20
Rockford[23] 27/11 33/16 46/27 59/37 71/48 80/58 83/63 81/61 74/52 62/40 46/29 32/17
Springfield[24] 33/17 39/22 51/32 63/42 74/53 83/62 86/66 84/64 78/55 67/44 51/34 38/23


See also: List of protected areas of Illinois

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. And numerous museums in the city of Chicago are considered some of the best in the world. 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 what is now Fort Massac State Park becoming the first park in a system encompassing over 60 parks and about the same number of recreational and wildlife areas.

Areas under the protection and control of the National Park Service include the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor near Lockport, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.


Evening sky over a grain elevator west of Champaign
Main article: History of Illinois


Copper plates found at pre-Columbian burial sites in Illinois.

Cahokia, the urban center of the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville. 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, but systematic attacks and genocide by the Iroquois reduced their numbers by 90%.[25] Members of the Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, and other tribes came in from the east and north.[13] In the American Revolution, the Illinois and Potawatomi supported the American cause.

European exploration

French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored the Illinois River in 1673. As a result of their exploration, Illinois was 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.[26]

19th century

The Illinois-Wabash Company was an early claimant to much of Illinois. The Illinois Territory was created on February 3 1809, with its capital at Kaskaskia. In 1818, Illinois became the 21st U.S. state after exaggerating its population totals. The new state debated slavery then rejected it, as settlers poured into southern Illinois from Kentucky.

Thanks to Nathaniel Pope, the delegate from Illinois, Congress shifted the northern border 41 miles north to 42° 30' north, which added 8,500 square miles (22,000 km2) to the state, including Chicago, Galena and the lead mining region. The capital remained at Kaskaskia, but in 1819 it was moved to Vandalia. In the 1832 Black Hawk War Indians who had removed to Iowa attempted to return, but were defeated by the militia and forced back to Iowa.

The winter of 1830-1831 is called the "Winter of the Deep Snow". A sudden, deep snowfall blanketed the state, making travel impossible for the rest of the winter. Many travelers perished. Several severe winters followed, including the "Winter of the Sudden Freeze". On December 20 1836, a fast-moving cold front passed through, freezing puddles in minutes and killing many travelers who could not reach shelter. The adverse weather resulted in crop failures in the northern part of the state. The southern part of the state shipped food north and this may have contributed to its name: "Little Egypt", after the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt supplying grain to his brothers.[27]

By 1839 the Mormon utopian city of Nauvoo, located on the Mississippi River, was created and settled, and flourished. In 1844 the Mormon leader Joseph Smith was killed in the Carthage jail. After close to six years of rapid development the Mormon city of Nauvoo, which rivaled Chicago as Illinois' largest city, saw a rapid decline. In 1846 the Mormons had left Illinois for the West in a mass exodus.

Chicago gained prominence as a Great Lakes port and then as an Illinois and Michigan Canal port after 1848, and as a rail hub soon afterward. By 1857, Chicago was Illinois' largest city.[26]

With the tremendous growth of mines and factories in Illinois in the 19th century, Illinois played an important role in the formation of labor unions in the United States. The Pullman Strike and Haymarket Riot in particular greatly influenced the development of the American labor movement.

American Civil War

Main article: Illinois in the Civil War

During the American Civil War, over 250,000 Illinois men served in the Union Army, more than any other northern state except New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Beginning with President Lincoln's first call for troops and continuing throughout the war, Illinois mustered 150 infantry regiments, which were numbered from the 7th to the 156th regiments. Seventeen cavalry regiments were also gathered, as well as two light artillery regiments.[28]

Twentieth century

In the 20th century, Illinois emerged as one of the most important states in the union with a population of nearly 5 million. By the end of the century, the population would reach 12.4 million. The Century of Progress world's fair was held at Chicago in 1933. Oil strikes in Marion County and Crawford County lead to a boom in 1937, and, by 1939, Illinois ranked 4th in U.S. oil production.

Following World War II, Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, activated the first experimental nuclear power generating system in United States in 1957. By 1960, the first privately financed nuclear plant in United States, Dresden 1, was dedicated near Morris. Chicago became an ocean port with the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, in 1959. The seaway and the Illinois Waterway connected Chicago to both the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean. In 1960, Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise in Des Plaines.

In 1970, the state's sixth constitutional convention authored a new constitution to replace the 1870 version. It was ratified in December. The first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign to benefit American farmers, in 1985. The worst upper Mississippi River flood of the century, the Great Flood of 1993, inundated many towns and thousands of acres of farmland.[26]


Illinois Population Density Map

As of 2006, Illinois has an estimated population of 12,831,970, which is an increase of 65,200 from the prior year and an increase of 412,323, or 3.3%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 481,799 people (that is 1,138,398 births minus 656,599 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 71,456 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in an increase of 402,257 people, and migration within the country produced a loss of 473,713 people.[29]

As of 2004 there were 1,682,900 foreign-born (13.3%).[30]

At the northern edge of the state on Lake Michigan lies Chicago, the nation's third largest city. In 2000, 23.3% of the population lived in the city of Chicago, 43.3% in Cook County and 65.6% the counties of the Chicago metro area; Will, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and McHenry Counties as well as Cook County. The rest of the population lives in the smaller cities and in the rural areas that dot the state's plains. According to the 2000 census, the state population center was 41.278216° N 88.380238° W in Grundy County northeast of Mazon.[31][26][14][13]

Illinois|03-17.csv|= 15.73| 0.62| 3.84| 0.11|= 0.35| 0.19| 0.08| 0.04|= 15.63| 0.62| 4.45| 0.11|= 0.39| 0.20| 0.09| 0.04|= 2.07| 3.74| 19.16| 10.13|= 1.81| 0.91| 19.36| 10.18|= 13.28| 10.14| 9.96| 10.06}}
Religious affiliation[32]
Christian: 80%
Protestant: 49%
Baptist: 12%
Lutheran: 7%
Methodist: 7%
Presbyterian: 3%
Other/general Protestant: 20%
Roman Catholic: 30%
Other Christian: 1%
Other religions: 4%
Non-religious: 16%

The top five ancestry groups in Illinois are: German American (19.6%), African American (15.1%), Irish American (12.2%), Mexican American (9.2%), and Polish-American (7.5%). Nearly three in ten whites in Illinois claimed at least partial German ancestry on the Census. Blacks are present in large numbers in the city of Chicago, East St. Louis, and the southern tip of the state. Residents citing American and British ancestry are especially concentrated in the southeastern part of the state. Metropolitan Chicago has the greatest numbers of people of Irish, Mexican, and Polish ancestry.

7.1% of Illinois' population was reported as under age 5, 26.1% under age 18, and 12.1% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51% of the population.[33][14]

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 10.85% of the population aged 5 and older speak Spanish at home, while 1.60% speak Polish [34].


Protestants are the largest religious group in Illinois. However, Illinois is not as heavily Protestant as neighboring states are. Roman Catholics, who are heavily concentrated in and around Chicago, account for 30% of the population.[35] Chicago and its suburbs are also home to a large population of Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.


Illinois Quarter
Main article: Economy of Illinois

The 2004 total gross state product for Illinois was nearly $522 billion USD,[36]

Illinois's state income tax is calculated by multiplying net income by a flat rate, currently 3%.[37] There are two rates for state sales tax: 6.25% for general merchandise and 1% for qualifying food, drugs and medical appliances.[38] The property tax is the largest single tax in Illinois, and is the major source of tax revenue for local government taxing districts. The property tax is a local—not state—tax, imposed by local government taxing districts which include counties, townships, municipalities, school districts, and special taxing districts. The property tax in Illinois is imposed only on real property.[26][14][13]

Agricultural and industry

Illinois's agricultural outputs are corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, dairy products, and wheat. In most years Illinois is the leading state for the production of soybeans [39], with a harvest of 500 million bushels (14 million metric tons) in 2004. Illinois is ranked second in total corn production.[40] Illinois' universities are actively researching alternative agricultural products as alternative crops.

As of 2004, the leading manufacturing industries in Illinois, based upon value-added, were chemical manufacturing ($16.6 billion), food manufacturing ($14.4 billion), machinery manufacturing ($13.6 billion), fabricated metal products ($10.5 billion), plastics and rubber products ($6.8 billion), transportation equipment ($6.7 billion), and computer and electronic products ($6.4 billion).[41] Important non-manufacturing industries include financial services, publishing, petroleum, and coal.


Illinois is a net importer of fuels for energy, despite large coal resources and some minor oil production. The state is ranked fifth among states in electricity production and seventh in electricity consumption.[42]


About 68% of Illinois has coal-bearing strata of the Pennsylvanian geologic period. According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, 211 billion tons of bituminous coal are estimated to lie under the surface, having a total heating value greater than the estimated oil deposits in the Arabian Peninsula.[43] However, this coal has a high sulfur content, which causes acid rain unless special equipment is used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.[26][14][13] Many Illinois power plants are not equipped to burn high-sulfur coal. In 1999, Illinois produced 40.4 million tons of coal, but only 17 million tons (42%) of Illinois coal was consumed in Illinois. Most of the coal produced in Illinois is exported to other states, while much of the coal burned for power in Illinois (21 million tons in 1998) is mined in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.[42]

Mattoon and Tuscola are being considered as sites for the Department of Energy's FutureGen project, a 275 megawatt experimental zero emission coal-burning power plant.


Illinois is a leading refiner of petroleum in the American Midwest, with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly 0.9 million barrels per day. However, Illinois has very limited crude oil proved reserves that account for less than 1% of U.S. crude oil proved reserves. Residential heating is 81% natural gas compared to less than 1% heating oil. Illinois is ranked 14th in oil production among states, with a daily output of approximately 28,000 barrels in 2005.[44]

Nuclear power

Nuclear power arguably began in Illinois with the Chicago Pile-1, the world's first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in the world's first nuclear reactor, built on the University of Chicago campus. With six major nuclear power plants (Braidwood, Byron, Clinton, Dresden, LaSalle, and Quad Cities) housing eleven reactors, Illinois is ranked first in nuclear generating capacity among the 31 states with nuclear plants.[45]

Wind power

Illinois has seen growing interest in the use of wind power for electrical generation.[46]


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.[47] The Archer Daniels Midland corporation in Decatur 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.[48][49] Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently announced a $25 million grant program to fund the construction of five new ethanol and biodiesel plants in Illinois.[50]


The sample version of the current Illinois passenger license plate introduced in 2001.
See also: List of airports in Illinois, List of Illinois Routes, List of Illinois railroads, and Category:Illinois waterways

Because of its central location and its proximity to the Rust Belt and Grain Belt, Illinois is a national crossroads for rail, auto and truck traffic.

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) is one of the busiest airports in the world, with 62 million domestic passengers annually along with 12 million international passengers.[51] It is a hub for United Airlines and American Airlines, and a major airport expansion project is currently underway. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) is the secondary airport serving metro Chicago, with 19 million passengers in 2006.

Illinois has an extensive rail network transporting both passengers and freight. Chicago is a national Amtrak hub and in-state passengers are served by Amtrak's Illinois Service featuring the Chicago to Carbondale Illini and Chicago to Quincy Illinois Zephyr. Nearly every North American railway meets at Chicago, making it one of the largest and most active rail hubs in the world. Extensive commuter rail is provided in the city proper and immediate northern suburbs by the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' system. The largest suburban commuter rail system in the United States, operated by Metra, uses existing rail lines to provide direct commuter rail access for hundreds of suburbs to the city and beyond.

Major U.S. Interstate highways crossing the state include: I-24, I-39, I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-72, I-74, I-80, I-88, I-90, and I-94. Illinois carries the distinction of having the most primary (2-digit) Interstates pass through it among the 50 states. In 2005, there were 1,355 traffic deaths on Illinois roadways, the lowest in more than 60 years.[13][14][26][52]

In addition to the states rail lines, the Mississippi River and Illinois River provide major routes for the states agricultural interests. Lake Michigan connects Illinois to all waterways east.

Law and government

Illinois Government
Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich (D)
Lieutenant Governor of Illinois: Pat Quinn (D)
Attorney General of Illinois: Lisa Madigan (D)
Secretary of State of Illinois: Jesse White (D)
Comptroller of Illinois: Daniel Hynes (D)
Treasurer of Illinois: Alexi Giannoulias (D)
Senior United States Senator: Richard J. Durbin (D)
Junior United States Senator: Barack Obama (D)
Illinois Symbols
State animal: White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
State amphibian: Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum)
State bird: Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
State capital: Springfield
State dance: Square dance
State fish: Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
State flower: Purple violet (Viola sororia)
State fossil: Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium)
State insect: Monarch Butterfly
State mineral: Fluorite
State motto: "State sovereignty, national union"
State Nickname: The Prairie State
State prairie grass: Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
State reptile: Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
State slogan: "Land of Lincoln"
State snack: Popcorn
State soil: Drummer Silty Clay Loam
State song: "Illinois"
State tree: White oak (Quercus alba)
Source: Illinois Symbols. Accessed on April 20, 2006.
Main article: Government of Illinois
See also: 2006 Election for statewide offices in the State of Illinois

The state government of Illinois is modeled after the Kentucky model with some adaptations.[53] As codified in the state constitution, there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is led by the Governor of Illinois. Legislative functions are given to the Illinois General Assembly, composed of the 118-member Illinois House of Representatives and the 59-member Illinois Senate. The judiciary is comprised of the Supreme Court of Illinois, which oversees the lower appellate and circuit courts.[12]

The dome on the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield is taller than the dome on the United States Capitol.


Historically, Illinois had traditionally been a major battleground state between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. As evidenced by increasing Democratic margins in recent elections, it has gradually shifted more Democratic at the national and state level, and now leans solidly Democratic in national elections to become the most Democratic state in the Midwest. This is largely due to the Democratic stronghold of Chicago, which dominates all state-wide elections, and changing demographics in suburban areas, which are becoming increasingly diverse. Outside of Chicago, the state is more competitive between the two major parties, with Republicans usually prevailing in rural northern and central Illinois, and Democrats usually winning in southern Illinois and in downstate urban areas. Illinois voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the last four elections. John Kerry easily won the state's 21 electoral votes in 2004 by a margin of 11 percentage points with 54.8% of the vote despite winning outright in only 15 of 102 counties. Traditionally Cook, Rock Island, Madison, and St. Clair (near St. Louis) counties have been Democratic strongholds, while the suburbs of Chicago and most of the rest of the state have been historically Republican. Both Lake County and DuPage County, coloquially referred to as the "collar counties", while still mostly Republican have been trending towards the Democrats. Small cities and towns are typically Republican strongholds.

Politics in the state, particularly Chicago machine politics, have been famous for over a century for high visibility corruption cases, as well as for crusading reformers such as governors Adlai Stevenson (D) and James Thompson (R). In 2006, former Governor George Ryan (R) was convicted of racketeering and bribery. In the late 20th century Congressman Dan Rostenkowski (Dem) was imprisoned for mail fraud; former governor and federal judge Otto Kerner (D) was imprisoned for bribery; and State Auditor of Public Accounts (Comptroller) Orville Hodge (R) was imprisoned for embezzlement. In 1912 William Lorimer, the GOP boss of Chicago, was expelled from the U.S. Senate for bribery, and in 1921 Governor Len Small (R) was found to have defrauded the state of a million dollars.[54][26][14]

Illinois has the unique distinction of having popularly elected two of the five African-Americans who have served in the U.S. Senate: Carol Moseley-Braun and Barack Obama.[55]

The first Governor was Shadrach Bond, who served from 1818 to 1822.

Largest cities

See also: List of cities in Illinois and List of towns and villages in Illinois

Chicago is the largest city in the state and the third most populous city in the United States. The US Bureau of the Census currently lists six other cities with populations of over 100,000 within Illinois. Based upon the Bureau's official 2005 scientific estimates,[56] they are: Aurora, a Chicago suburb which at 168,181 has recently (2002) eclipsed Rockford for the title of "Second City" of Illinois. However, at 152,916, Rockford is not only the number three city, but also remains the largest city in the state not located within the Chicago metropolitan area. Naperville, another suburb located west of Chicago, is the fourth largest city in the state, with a population of 141,579. Joliet, a city southwest of Chicago, is fifth with 136,208. Springfield, the state capital of Illinois, comes in sixth with 115,668. The final city in the 100,000 club is Peoria, which decades ago was the second largest city in the state; its 2005 population was 112,685.

Chicago's skyline


Rockefeller Chapel, constructed in 1928, is the tallest structure on the University of Chicago campus.

Illinois State Board of Education

Main article: Illinois State Board of Education

The Illinois State Board of Education or ISBE, autonomous of the governor and the state legislature, administers public education in the state. Local municipalities and their respective school districts operate individual public schools but the ISBE audits performance of public schools with the Illinois School Report Card. The ISBE also makes recommendations to state leaders concerning education spending and policies.

Primary and secondary schools

See also: List of school districts in Illinois and List of high schools in Illinois

Education is compulsory from kindergarten through the twelfth grade in Illinois, commonly but not exclusively divided into three tiers of primary and secondary education: elementary school, middle school or junior high school and high school. District territories are often complex in structure. In some cases, elementary, middle and junior high schools of a single district feed into high schools in another district.

Colleges and universities

See also: List of colleges and universities in Illinois

Education has always been a high priority in Illinois, as attested by the large number of colleges and universities in the state. The three most prominent research universities are Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the latter being the only public university of the three. Other public universities include the University of Illinois at Chicago and Springfield (which are branches of the University of Illinois System), as well as Illinois State University (1857), Southern Illinois University (1869), Northern Illinois University (1895), Eastern Illinois University (1895), and Western Illinois University (1899). Illinois supports 49 public community colleges in the Illinois Community College System, as well as dozens of private colleges and universities.


Soldier Field following renovation.
See also: List of professional sports teams in Illinois

Because of its large population, Chicago is the focus of most professional sports in Illinois though outside of the Chicago area professional teams in St. Louis and Indianapolis are also supported. Chicago is the home to 15 different professional sports teams.

The Chicago Cubs of the National League play in the second-oldest major league stadium and are famous as "lovable losers". They have not won the World Series since 1908. The Chicago White Sox of the American League won the World Series championship in 2005, their first since 1917. The Chicago Bears football team has won 9 total NFL Championships, the last occurring in Super Bowl XX. Coincidentally, the city's Arena Football League team, the Chicago Rush, won ArenaBowl XX. The Chicago Bulls of the NBA are one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world, thanks to the heroics of a player often cited as the best ever, Michael Jordan, who led the team to six NBA championships in eight seasons in the 1990s. The Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL began playing in 1926 as a member of the Original Six and have won several Stanley Cups. The Chicago Fire soccer club are members of MLS and are one of the league's most successful and best-supported since its founding in 1997, winning one league and four US Open Cups in that timespan. Chicago also has a professional Lacrosse team, the Chicago Machine.

Chicago sports teams, like the Bulls, often carry a national following. However, downstate fans are also loyal to adjacent sports markets, such as St. Louis or Indianapolis.

See also



  1. ^ 5 ILCS 460/20 (from Ch. 1, par. 2901‑20) - Sec. 20. "Official language. The official language of the State of Illinois is English."
  2. ^ [1] U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights
  3. ^ US Census Bureau, median household income by state 2004. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
  4. ^ a b Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on November 6, 2006.
  5. ^ Stephen Ohlemacher. "Analysis ranks Illinois most average state", Associated Press, May 17, 2007. 
  6. ^ Stephen Ohlemacher. "Analysis ranks Illinois most average state", Associated Press, May 17, 2007. 
  7. ^ Biles (2005) ch 1
  8. ^ "Chicago's Front Door: Chicago Harbor." A digital exhibit published online by the [[Chicago Public Library|]]. [2] Accessed October 20, 2007.
  9. ^ Comments by Michael McCafferty on "Readers' Feedback (page 4)". The KryssTal. Retrieved on 2007-02-23.
  10. ^ Costa, David J. 2000. "Miami-Illinois Tribe Names". In the Papers of the 31st Algonquian Conference, University of Manitoba Press, pp. 146-7
  11. ^ {{cite web |url= |title=Illinois |accessdate=2007-02-23 |publisher=[[1997-07-17|]]
  12. ^ a b [[Wikisource|]]
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Horsley, A. Doyne (1986). Illinois: A Geography. ISBN 0-86531-522-1. 
  15. ^ Illinois State Climatologist Office. Climate Maps for Illinois. Accessed April 22 2006.
  16. ^ Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC). Illinois Extreme Temperature list. Accessed April 22 2006.
  17. ^ "Annual average number of tornadoes, 1953-2004", NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved on October 24 2006.
  18. ^ PAH Webmaster (2005-11-02). NWS Paducah, KY: NOAA/NWS 1925 Tri-State Tornado Web Site -- General Information. Retrieved on 2006-11-16.
  19. ^ "Average Weather for Cairo, IL",
  20. ^ "Chicago Weather",
  21. ^ "Moline Weather",
  22. ^ "Peoria Weather",
  23. ^ "Rockford Weather",
  24. ^ "Springfield Weather",
  25. ^ Frederick E. Hoxie, Encyclopedia of North American Indians (1996) 266-7, 506
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Biles, Roger (2005). Illinois: A History of the Land and its People. ISBN 0-87580-349-0. 
  27. ^ Duff, Judge Andrew D. Egypt. Republished, Springhouse Magazine. Accessed May 1 2006.
  28. ^ Illinois in the Civil War. Illinois Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery Units. Accessed November 26 2006.
  29. ^ [[United States Census Bureau|]]Population Estimates Program
  30. ^ [[United States Census Bureau|]]. 2004 American Community Survey.
  31. ^ American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. State Centers of Population. Accessed April 20, 2006.
  32. ^ American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). CUNY Key Findings. 2001.
  33. ^ [[United States Census Bureau|]]. Illinois Quick Facts, 2004. Accessed August 28 2006.
  34. ^ "Most Spoken Languages In Illinois", [[Modern Language Association|]].
  35. ^ See Statemaster. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  36. ^ [[Bureau of Economic Analysis|]]. State Per Capita Personal Income. March 28 2006.
  37. ^ Illinois Department of Revenue. Individual Income Tax. Accessed May 27 2006.
  38. ^ Illinois Department of Revenue. Illinois Sales Tax Reference Manual (PDF). p117. January 1, 2006.
  39. ^ "State Soy Crop Statistics", Soy Stats, The American Soybean Association.
  40. ^ "Ethanol Fact Sheet", Illinois Corn Growers Association.
  41. ^ "Manufacturing in Illinois", Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
  42. ^ a b "Illinois in the Global Energy Marketplace", [[Robert Finley|]], 2001. Illinois State Geological Survey publication.
  43. ^ Illinois State Geological Survey. Coal in Illinois. Accessed April 20 2006.
  44. ^ [[United States Department of Energy|]]. Petroleum Profile: Illinois. Accessed April 4 2006.
  45. ^ [[United States Department of Energy|]]. Illinois Nuclear Industry. Accessed April 4, 2006.
  46. ^ "Illinois Wind." Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, [[University of Illinois Environmental Council|]].
  47. ^ "Ethanol Fact Sheet", Illinois Corn Growers Association.
  48. ^ "BP Pledges $500 Million for Energy Biosciences Institute and Plans New Business to Exploit Research",, June 14, 2006.
  49. ^ "Gov. Blagojevich joins Gov. Schwarzenegger, top BP executives to celebrate launch of $500 million biosciences energy research partnership with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, UC-Berkeley". Press release, February 1, 2007.
  50. ^ "Illinois invests $25 million in five new biofuels facilities", [[Biodiesel Magazine|]], October 2006.
  51. ^ "Airport Statistics", Fly
  52. ^ [[Governor of Illinois|]]. Press release. Accessed April 20, 2006.
  53. ^ Biles (2005) pp 38-49
  54. ^ James L. Merriner, Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003 (2004)
  55. ^ U.S. Senate: Art & History Home
  56. ^ American Fact Finder, [[United States Census Bureau|]].


  • Biles, Roger. Illinois: A History of the Land and Its People (2005)
  • Bridges, Roger D. and Davis, Rodney O., Illinois : Its History and Legacy (1984) (ISBN 0933150865)
  • Cole, Arthur Charles. The Era of the Civil War, 1848-1870 (1919). ISBN 0-8369-5646-X. narrative history
  • Davis, James E. Frontier Illinois (1998). ISBN 0-253-33423-3. analytic history
  • Gove, Samuel K. and James D. Nowlan. Illinois Politics & Government: The Expanding Metropolitan Frontier (1996). ISBN 0-8032-7014-3. Government text with guide to further sources.
  • Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating, and Janice L. Reiff, eds. The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004). ISBN 0-226-31015-9. online version; major scholarly guide to the metro area's history, geography, and culture
  • Hallwas, John E. ed., Illinois Literature: The Nineteenth Century (1986). OCLC 14228886.
  • Howard, Robert P. Illinois: A History of the Prairie State (1972). ISBN 0-8028-7025-2. textbook
  • Jensen, Richard. Illinois: A History (2001). ISBN 0-252-07021-6. interpretation using a traditional-modern-postmodern model.
  • Keiser, John H. Building for the Centuries: Illinois 1865-1898 (1977). ISBN 0-252-00617-8, narrative history
  • Meyer, Douglas K. Making the Heartland Quilt: A Geographical History of Settlement and Migration in Early-Nineteenth-Century Illinois (2000). ISBN 0-8093-2289-7.
  • Kilduff, Pygman. Illinois: History Government Geography (1962) school text
  • Kleppner, Paul. Political Atlas of Illinois (1988). ISBN 0-87580-136-6. Maps for 1980s.
  • Peck, J. M. A Gazetteer of Illinois (1837). ISBN 1-55613-782-6.
  • Sutton, Robert P. ed. The Prairie State: A Documentary History of Illinois (1977). ISBN 0-8028-1651-7. 2 vol of primary sources
  • Walton, C. Clyde. ed. An Illinois Reader (1970), primary sources
  • Works Progress Administration. Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide (1939). ISBN 0-394-72195-0. A famous survey covering every town and city and much more.

External links

All wikimedia projects
Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Illinois

CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 40° N 89° W

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Illinois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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This article uses material from the "Illinois" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

State of Illinois
File:Flag of File:Illinois state
Flag of Illinois Seal of Illinois
Also called: Land of Lincoln, The Prairie State
Saying(s): State sovereignty, national union
Official language(s) English
Capital Springfield
Largest city Chicago
Area  Ranked 25th
 - Total 57,918 sq mi
(149,998 km²)
 - Width 210 miles (340 km)
 - Length 390 miles (629 km)
 - % water 4.0
 - Latitude 36°58'N to 42°30'N
 - Longitude 87°30'W to 91°30'W
Number of people  Ranked 5th
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (11th)
 - Average income  $45,787[1] (18th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Charles Mound[2]
1,235 ft  (377 m)
 - Average 600 ft  (182 m)
 - Lowest point Mississippi River[2]
279 ft  (85 m)
Became part of the U.S.  December 3 1818 (21st)
Governor Pat Quinn (D)
U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D)
Roland Burris (D)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations IL US-IL
Web site

Illinois is a state in the United States. Its capital is Springfield and its largest city is Chicago. It is bordered to the north by Wisconsin, to the west by Iowa and below that, by Missouri (both borders are along the Mississippi River). To the south-east, Illinois is bordered along the Ohio River by Kentucky and to the east by Indiana. Illinois' northeasternmost boundary is to Lake Michigan. Marquette and Joliet are given credit for being the first Europeans to find this state.

Illinois became a state on December 3, 1818. Its state insect is the Monarch Butterfly, its state tree is the White Oak, its state flower is the violet, its state bird is the Cardinal, and its state animal is the white-tailed deer.

Most of the people living in Illinois live near the city of Chicago.

People from Illinois

Famous Illinoisans include:


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