Illinois Facts and History

Abbreviated as IL on, Illinois is one of the five central states of northeast  of the North American Confederation, the second among these for surface area (146,756 sq km), the first for absolute population (7,630,659. residents in 1930); the third of the whole Union; the density of 52 residents per sq. km. it is also surpassed by that of neighboring Ohio. The territory, closed between Michigan and the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash courses, limited elsewhere by conventional boundaries, corresponds to a broad plane, inclined towards the southwest , And consists of deluge-glacial and alluvial depositions of considerable power (from 10 to 150 meters), piled on a compact Paleozoic base. Towards north and NO. the landscape becomes a little more rough and almost hilly (but does not go beyond 250 meters in height at any point). In the central part the tone is given by the wide spread of flat and treeless grasslands. On the other hand, the forest still covers considerable areas in the extreme southern cusp of the state (just over/ 4 of the total area), it continues along the major river currents.

The temperate climate is distinctly continental, with rigid and snowy winters (average January in Chicago, −4 °, 6), and very hot summers; characteristic is the frequency of blizzards and tornados, the latter often devastating (half a dozen per year on average).

Illinois is among the wealthiest agricultural states in the Union. The basis of its economy are cereal growing and livestock farming, which have gradually taken on an increasingly intensive rhythm and are exercised there with rational methods, in accordance with the consequent and equally rapid industrial development. Farms cover 85.7% of arable land; Without being, as in the past, the largest producer of corn in the Union, Illinois appears with conspicuous quantities in this as well as in the crops of wheat, oats, barley, rye, potatoes, etc. In breeding pigs prevail by far, for which Illinois occupies the third place among the states of the Confederation (4.5 million head, approximately, in 1930), but all other than negligible is the number of cattle (over 3 million heads, of which 1.1 dairy cows), horses and sheep. The subsoil collects rich deposits of hard coal (Williamson, Sangamon, St Clair; over 50 million tons per year), oil (Litchfield, Montgomery), iron (3.7 million tons), zinc, galena (Galena, Elizabeth), copper etc.

The extraordinarily rapid development of Chicago, the most populous center of the entire state and of the whole Confederation after New York, has determined a particularly fortunate condition here for the trade in basic necessities (especially cereals and meats), being Illinois which has become, and still remains, one of the nodes of the economic life of the Union and for it of the countries that depend on it. The population of the state, which at its constitution (1818) slightly exceeded 50,000 souls, counted half a million inhabitants in 1840, over 1.5 in 1860, 2.5 in 1870, about 5 in 1900, 6,485,000 in 1920,7,630,654 in 1930. Its increase over the last decade has been relatively small (17.3%), although higher than the Union average (16.1%). The Negro element, 1.8% in 1920, has now risen to 2.8%. In 1gz0, over 200,000 Germans, over 250,000 Poles, and about 100,000 Italians lived in Illinois. The population is divided into 26% in agriculture, 27% in industry and the rest in commerce.

Illinois does not have many populous urban centers; a little less than 2 / 3 of the population lives in agglomerations above 2500 ab. Few cities exceeded 30,000 residents in 1930; the most notable (besides, of course, Chicago) are East St Louis (74,350 residents), Peoria (104,970 residents) and Rockford (85,860 residents), agricultural and industrial centers (agricultural machinery), Joliet (42,993 residents), with large metallurgical factories, and Springfield (71,860 residents), the capital of the state (watch industry).


The part of the Mississippi valley, which now forms the state of Illinois, was explored by the French in the 9th century. XVII. Pierre Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers arrived in the upper Mississippi region in 1659 and in 1673 the Jesuit Jacques Marquette arrived where Chicago is today. Two years later Marquette and his brothers founded a mission in the Indian village of Kaskaskia, near the present city of Utica. But only in 1720 the first permanent colonies were founded on this territory, in Cahokia, Kaskaskia and Fort Chartres. The French influence remained predominant for forty years, but with the Treaty of Paris (1763) the region was ceded to England.

During the British occupation, the first immigrants from the British colonies reached the Mississippi valley, following the Atlantic coast. Illinois was annexed to the province of Quebec in 1774; but it was lost by the British during the war of the American Revolution. George Rogers Clark, appointed by the governor of Virginia Patrick Henry, took possession of Cahokia and Kaskaskia in 1778 and of Vincennes (Indiana) in 1779; and the peace treaty of 1789 secured this territory for the United States.

Organized as part of the northeast Territory. in 1787, Illinois became a separate territory in 1809 and was incorporated as a state into the Union in 1818. Its population, which grew rapidly after 1815, had come largely from the southern and central states; but in the middle of the century the northern counties were occupied by emigrants from New England and New York. This different origin of the population had its repercussions in the attitude of the state towards the question of slavery, in favor of and against the demands of the slave owners. Although the state constitution prohibited slavery, Negroes were kept as servants with a training system that was actually forced service.

About 1840 the Mormons immigrated there, driven out of Missouri, and settled in Hancock County, where they founded Nauvoo. But fierce opposition soon arose against them, and civil war broke out in 1844, which resulted in the assassination of the sect’s founder, Joseph Smith Junior, and the exodus of the Mormons. Illinois remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War (1861-1865) despite thousands of voters in the southern counties, hostile to the Lincoln government.

The quarter century following the civil war was marked by strenuous efforts by the state’s agricultural population to regulate rail and storage tariffs, to alleviate the burden of taxes, and to control the facilities offered by the banking and credit system. Members of the Patrons of Husbandry society, known under the popular name of Grangers, supported administrative candidates who pledged to help farmers. The movement expressed itself through organizations such as Fr. ex. the Independent Reform Party, which in 1874 triumphed in the elections and compiled a series of laws to regulate the operation of the railways and the grain market.

Considerable help came to the farmers from the rapidly growing ranks of the industrial centers of the state. Although there was never an effective political alliance between the farmer and the worker, both helped to make the People’s Party strong, which held up against the Republican and Democratic parties in the presidential elections of 1892.

During the sec. XX Political struggles in Illinois centered mainly on the rivalry between rural sections and large urban communities, although the strategic needs of the party – for Republicans and Democrats – often led to deviations from that attitude. In the internal affairs of the state, the Democrats have often successfully coped with the Republicans, albeit predominant. In the presidential elections – with the exception of the electoral campaigns of 1912 and 1932, Illinois has always voted for the Republican candidate since the civil war.

Illinois Facts and History


According to, Chicago is a city of Illinois. Currently the third largest center by population in the United States, it developed in the early nineteenth century around Fort Dearborn, erected in 1803. It benefited from the construction of a canal from the Illinois River to Lake Michigan (1848) and the first railways (1852). In the second half of the century the population growth was impressive: 29,963 residents in 1850; 1,698,575 residents in 1900, overwhelmingly African American and European immigrants, joined by Asians and Latin Americans. The city has had enormous industrial importance ever since.

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