Portal:Illinois

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Illinois (/ˌɪləˈnɔɪ/ (listen) IL-ə-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is its largest city, and the state's capital is Springfield; other major metropolitan areas include Metro East (of Greater St. Louis), Peoria and Rockford. Of the fifty U.S. states, Illinois has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area.

With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and immense farmland in the north and center, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a highly diverse economy. Owing to its central location and geography, the state is a major transportation hub: the Port of Chicago has access to the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway, and to the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River via the Illinois Waterway. Additionally, the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash rivers form parts of the state's boundaries. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been among the world's ten busiest airports for decades. Described as a microcosm of the entire United States, Illinois has long been considered a bellwether in social and cultural terms, and previously as a political bellwether as well, though the state is now considered a Democratic Party stronghold.

What is now Illinois was inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous cultures, including the advanced civilization centered in the Cahokia region. The French were the first Europeans to arrive, settling near the Mississippi River in the 17th century, in the region they called Illinois Country, part of the sprawling colony of New France. Following U.S. independence in 1783, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. Illinois was part of the United States' oldest territory, the Northwest Territory, and in 1818 it achieved statehood. The Erie Canal brought increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes, and the small settlement of Chicago became one of the fastest growing cities in the world, benefiting from its location as one of the few natural harbors in south-western Lake Michigan. The invention of the self-scouring steel plow by Illinoian John Deere turned the state's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. In the mid 19th century, the Illinois and Michigan Canal and a sprawling railroad network greatly facilitated trade, commerce, and settlement, making the state a transportation hub for the nation.

Selected article

Sufjan Stevens performing on stage during a tour for Illinois. Stevens and his band the Illinoisemakers wore outfits modeled after those of the cheerleaders of the University of Illinois.

Illinois is a 2005 concept album by American indie folk songwriter Sufjan Stevens. His fifth studio album, Illinois features songs referencing places, events, and persons related to the U.S. state of Illinois. The album is Stevens' second based on a U.S. state—part of a planned series of fifty that began with the 2003 album Michigan and that Stevens has since acknowledged was a gag.

Stevens recorded the album using low-fidelity methods and a variety of instruments between late 2004 and early 2005 at multiple venues in New York City, where he also produced the album. The artwork and lyrics explore the history, culture, art, and geography of the state—Stevens developed them after analyzing criminal, literary, and historical documents. Following a July 4, 2005, release date, Stevens promoted Illinois with a world tour. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Paul Cornell

Paul Cornell (August 5, 1822 – March 3, 1904) was an American lawyer and Chicago real estate speculator who founded the Hyde Park Township that included most of what are now known as the south and far southeast sides of Chicago, Illinois. He turned the south side Lake Michigan lakefront area, especially the Hyde Park community area and neighboring Kenwood and Woodlawn neighborhoods, into a resort community that had its heyday from the 1850s through the early 20th century. He was also an urban planner who paved the way for and preserved many of the parks that are now in the Chicago Park District. Additionally, he was a successful entrepreneur with interests in manufacturing, cemeteries, and hotels. His modern legacy includes several large parks now in the Chicago Park District: Jackson Park, Washington Park, Midway Plaisance and Harold Washington Park. (Read more...)

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Culture: Chicago Blues FestivalChicago Jazz FestivalChicago Symphony OrchestraCornerstone FestivalDillo DayIllinois Shakespeare FestivalIllinois State FairIllinois' Poets LaureateList of museums in IllinoisLollapaloozaLyric Opera of ChicagoMusicPitchfork Music FestivalRavinia FestivalTaste of Chicago

Education: Higher educationSecondary education

Environment: Ecoregions of IllinoisGeography of IllinoisGeology of IllinoisProtected areas of Illinois

Government: ConstitutionEconomyPoliticsState Capitol

History: ChicagoIlliniwekIllinois CentralIllinois-Wabash CompanyIllinois TerritoryAbraham LincolnBlack Hawk WarCahokia1871 Great Chicago FireMakataimeshekiakiakMiamiMississippian cultureNorthwest TerritoryPotawatomiRoute 66Sauk

People: Governors of IllinoisMayors of ChicagoLongest Serving Mayor in IllinoisOrder of Lincoln Laureates

Sports: Chicago BanditsChicago BearsChicago BullsChicago CubsChicago FireChicago RushChicago SkyChicago White SoxChicago WolvesThe Fighting IlliniIllinois State RedbirdsNorthwestern WildcatsPeoria RivermenRockford IceHogsRockford ThunderSouthern Illinois MinersSouthern Illinois University SalukisChicago Yacht Club Race to MackinacChicago Marathon

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