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Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP),
the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as 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 international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River, through the Illinois Waterway. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's 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, through the 1980s, in politics.
The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is located in the central part of the state. Although today Illinois's largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled lands near the Mississippi River, when the region was known as Illinois Country and was part of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was incorporated in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, and new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.
By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted 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 the state, including Chicago, who founded the city's famous jazz and blues cultures. Chicago, the center of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, is now recognized as a global city. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses about 65% of the state's population. The most populous metropolitan areas outside the Chicago area include, Metro East (of Greater St. Louis), Peoria and Rockford.
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 born and raised in the state. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954. The state is the site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and the future home of the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
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Peoria ( pee-OR-ee-ə) is the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, and the largest city on the Illinois River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 115,007. It is the principal city of the Peoria Metropolitan Area in Central Illinois, consisting of the counties of Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford, which had a population of 373,590 in 2011. Established in 1691 by the French explorer Henri de Tonti, Peoria was later labeled by the Peoria Historical Society to be the oldest European settlement in Illinois. Originally known as Fort Clark, it received its current name when the County of Peoria organized in 1825. The city was named after the Peoria tribe, a member of the Illinois Confederation. On October 16, 1854, Abraham Lincoln made his Peoria speech against the Kansas-Nebraska Act.A major port on the Illinois River, Peoria is a trading and shipping center for a large agricultural area that produces corn, soybeans, and livestock. Although the economy is well diversified, the city's traditional manufacturing industries remain important and produce earthmoving equipment, metal products, lawn-care equipment, labels, steel towers, farm equipment, building materials, steel, wire, and chemicals. Until 2018, Peoria was the global and national headquarters for heavy equipment and engine manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., one of the 30 companies composing the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and listed on the Fortune 100; in the latter year, the company relocated its headquarters to Deerfield, Illinois.The city is associated with the phrase "Will it play in Peoria?", which originated from the vaudeville era and was popularized by Groucho Marx. Museums in the city include the Pettengill-Morron House, the John C. Flanagan House, and the Peoria Riverfront Museum.
Logan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 30,305. Its county seat is Lincoln.Logan County comprises the Lincoln, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Springfield-Jacksonville-Lincoln, IL Combined Statistical Area.
Galesburg is a city in Knox County, Illinois, United States. The city is 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Peoria. As of the 2010 census, its population was 32,195. It is the county seat of Knox County and the principal city of the Galesburg Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Knox and Warren counties. Galesburg is home to Knox College, a private four-year liberal arts college, and Carl Sandburg College, a two-year community college. A 496-acre (201 ha) section of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Galesburg Historic District.
Decatur is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 70,522 as of the 2020 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. Decatur is the seventeenth-most populous city in Illinois.The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has an economy based on industrial and agricultural commodity processing and production, including the North American headquarters of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, compactors, large wheel loaders, mining class motor grader, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.