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Illinois is a state in the midwestern region of the United States, achieving statehood in 1818. It is the 5th most populous state and 25th largest state in terms of land area, and is often noted as a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River. For decades, O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and politics.

State of Illinois
Flag of Illinois State seal of Illinois
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Land of Lincoln; The Prairie State
Motto(s): State sovereignty, national union
Map of the United States with Illinois highlighted
Official language English
Spoken languages English (80.8%)
Spanish (14.9%)
Other (5.1%)
Demonym Illinoisan
Capital Springfield
Largest city  Chicago
Largest metro Chicago metropolitan area Chicagoland
Area Ranked 25th
 • Total 57,914 sq mi
(149,932 km)
 • Width 210 miles (338 km)
 • Length 390 miles (628 km)
 • % water 3.99
 • Latitude 36° 58′ N to 42° 30′ N
 • Longitude 87° 30′ W to 91° 31′ W
Population Ranked 5th
 • Total 12,859,995 (2015 est)
 • Density 232/sq mi  (89.4/km)
Ranked 12th
 • Median household income $60,413 (19th)
Elevation
 • Highest point Charles Mound
1,235 ft (376.4 m)
 • Mean 600 ft  (180 m)
 • Lowest point Confluence of Mississippi River and Ohio River
280 ft (85 m)
Before statehood Illinois Territory
Admission to Union December 3, 1818 (21st)
Governor Bruce Rauner (R)
Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti (R)
Legislature General Assembly
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D)
Mark Kirk (R)
U.S. House delegation 10 Democrats, 8 Republicans (list)
Time zone Central: UTC -6/-5
ISO 3166 US-IL
Abbreviations IL, Ill.
Website www.illinois.gov
Illinois state symbols
Flag of Illinois.svg
Seal of Illinois.svg
Living insignia
Amphibian Eastern tiger salamander
Bird Northern cardinal
Butterfly Monarch butterfly
Fish Bluegill
Flower Violet
Grass Big bluestem
Mammal White-tailed deer
Reptile Painted turtle
Tree White oak
Inanimate insignia
Dance Square dance
Food Gold Rush Apple, popcorn
Fossil Tully monster
Mineral Fluorite
Motto State sovereignty, national union
Slogan "Land of Lincoln"
Soil Drummer silty clay loam
Song Illinois
State route marker
Illinois state route marker
State quarter
Illinois quarter dollar coin
Released in 2003
Lists of United States state symbols

Illinois (/ˌɪlˈnɔɪ/ IL-i-NOY) is a state in the midwestern region of the United States, achieving statehood in 1818. It is the 5th most populous state and 25th largest state in terms of land area, and is often noted as a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River. For decades, O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and politics.

Although today the state's largest population center is around Chicago in the northern part of the state, the state's European population grew first in the west, with French Canadian colonists who settled along the Mississippi River in the 17th and 18th century, and gave the area the name, Illinois Country. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving crossing the Appalachians barrier range in the 1810s via the gaps of the Allegheny to boat building centers in Pittsburgh, from Cumberland, Maryland via the Cumberland Narrows pass to outfit in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, from North Carolina and Virginia via the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky and Tennessee, all on the Ohio River.

With the War of 1812 Illinois growth slowed as both Native Americans and Canadian forces often raided the American Frontier. After the war's end, the federal government re-established forts such as Fort Dearborn (in 1816—now the site is within Chicago) and army patrols west of the Mississippi diminished the threat from Amerindian raids, so settlers were able to move into all of Illinois from the eastern and southern emigrant trails.

Mineral finds and timber stands also had spurred immigration—by the 1810s, the Eastern U.S. had exhausted most timber stands close to the established cities creating a hard felt first energy crisis by the late 1790s, and after 1818 the industrial revolution was being fueled by new canals such as the Lehigh Canal feeding the furnaces of the rapidly industrializing east coast. In the same year of 1818, Illinois achieved statehood and its growth, as yet untroubled by the speed of as yet unrefined railway technology, would be fueled by the new religion of industrialized forward thinking.

After construction of the Erie Canal with increasing traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois' rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting new immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Railroads arose and matured in the 1840s, and soon carried immigrants to new homes in Illinois, as well as being a resource to ship their commodity crops out to markets. Railroads freed most of the land of Illinois and other mid-western states from the tyranny of water transport; no longer was a location near a river or canal a need to ship bulk goods.

By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted a new group of immigrants, from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in Chicago, who created the city's famous jazz and blues cultures.

Three U.S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was the only U.S. president born and raised in Illinois. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan, Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in the state capital of Springfield, and the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be completed in Chicago by 2020.

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