Illinois Facts

Illinois Facts
The State of Illinois is located in the Midwestern United States. It shares state borders with Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Indiana. Illinois is the 25th largest state with 57,914 square miles. It is the 5th most populated state with approximately 12,882,135 residents, and it is also ranked as the 12th most densely populated state. Thousands of years prior to European settlement, Illinois was inhabited by various American Indian cultures. In 1673 French explorers navigated along the Illinois River, and in 1680 a fort was built where Peoria exists today. Although the French, British and American settlers were aware of Illinois's region, part of the territory was reserved for Indians and it was left alone. It wasn't until 1783, five years after Virginia had already claimed the land, that it changed hands and became part of the Northwest Territory. Later the area was organized into states and Illinois became the 21st state in 1818 after being admitted to the Union.
Interesting Illinois Facts:
Illinois' capital city is Springfield. Its largest city is Chicago.
Chicago is home to the first aquarium which opened in 1893.
Illinois residents are known as Illinoisans.
The Illinois state nickname is the Prairie State.
Illinois' state flower is the violet.
The state amphibian is the eastern tiger salamander.
Illinois' state dance is the square dance.
The state bird is the cardinal.
The state fish is the bluegill.
The state motto for Illinois is State Sovereignty, National Union.
The state slogan is Land of Lincoln. Illinois has copyright to this slogan.
Illinois' state song is 'Illinois'.
One belief is that the word Illinois originates from the word Illini. This word stood for the confederation of several Indian tribes including the Tamoroa, Peoria, Moingwena, Michigamea, Kaskaskia, and Cahokia tribes.
One belief is that the name Illinois originated from a Native American word that means 'tribe of superior men'.
Illinois' major lakes include Lake Michigan (which Illinois borders), and Rend Lake.
Illinois' major rivers include the Wabash River, Ohio River, Illinois River and the Mississippi River.
The major industries in Illinois are agriculture, mining, manufacturing and cattle.
Illinois agriculture includes sorghum, rye, barley, oats, wheat, corn and soybeans.
Lucy Derwent won a design contest for the Illinois state flag in 1913. In 1970 it was once again redesigned, this time by Mrs. Sanford Hutchinson.
The very first skyscraper in the world was built in 1885 in Chicago, Illinois.
Illinois' state reptile is the painted turtle.
The Illinois state fruit is the Goldrush apple.
President Ulysses S. Grant had his home in Illinois; it is preserved in Galena.
The football team 'the Chicago Bears' were originally called the Staley Bears.
Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, to abolish slavery.
Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, was born in Tampico, Illinois. He was raised in Dixon, Illinois.
Illinois has some of the most varied weather in the country. They experience intense heat and cold waves, catastrophic and deadly tornadoes and major winter storms and blizzards.


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