FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
Illinois (/ˌɪləˈnɔɪ/ (listen) IL-ə-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Of the fifty U.S. states, it has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area. Chicago is the state’s largest city and the fifth largest city in North America, with the capital in Springfield, located in the center of the state; other major urban areas include Metro East (of Greater St. Louis), Peoria and Rockford.
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 enjoys 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, cultural, and political terms.
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 a 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. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 incorporated Illinois into the U.S., and in 1818 it achieved statehood. The Erie Canal brought increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes, and the small town of Chicago became one of the fastest growing settlements in North America, benefiting from its location in one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. The invention of the self-scouring steel plow by Illinois transplant 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.
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. As one of America’s most industrialized states, Illinois was an important manufacturing center for much of the 20th century, especially during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in the state, particularly Chicago, who founded the city’s famous jazz and blues cultures. Chicago, which had become one of the country’s leading cultural, economic, and population centers, remains a global city; its metropolitan area of Chicagoland encompasses about 65% of the state’s population.
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.
Question of the Day
Does it snow a lot in the Antarctic?Oddly enough, the Antarctic is considered one of the driest places on Earth. It gets only an inch or two of snow each year, making it more or less a desert. Those two inches a year, however, have been piling up for centuries, and the snow cover there is thought to be about two miles deep, making it a glacier.
Advice of the Day
Calm heartburn with kiwi or papaya.
Home Hint of the Day
To help prevent a ring in the tub, add a few drops of baby oil to your bathwater.
Word of the Day
CeilometerA cloud yardstick. A ceilometer measures the height of clouds.
Puzzle of the Day
What men may be said to be made from trees?Aldermen
- Gilbert Stuart(portrait painter)– 1755
- Cleveland Abbe(meteorologist, known as Old Probabilities)– 1838
- Joseph Conrad(author)– 1857
- Anna Freud(daughter of Sigmund)– 1895
- Maria Callas(opera singer)– 1923
- Andy Williams(singer)– 1930
- Bobby Allison(race car driver)– 1937
- Ozzy Osbourne(singer)– 1948
- Hart Bochner(Canadian actor)– 1956
- Daryl Hannah(actress)– 1960
- Brendan Fraser(actor)– 1968
- W.T. Davis(author)– 1907
- Madeline Kahn(actress)– 1999
- Henry Chauncey(founded the Educational Testing Service, whose SAT is used by thousands of colleges and universities)– 2002
- David Hemmings(actor)– 2003
- Illinois was admitted to the Union as the 21st state– 1818
- Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States– 1828
- Oberlin College, the first college to admit women (first coeducational college), founded in Oberlin, Ohio. First named Oberlin Collegiate Institute– 1833
- Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann are the first Europeans to see Mt. Kenya– 1849
- Quebec Bridge opened to rail traffic, Quebec City– 1917
- George Gershwin, the young American composer, appeared as a soloist at a concert in Carnegie Hall, N.Y.C., playing his Concerto in F, the first jazz concerto for the piano in musical history– 1925
- Eleanor Roosevelt, Mayor La Guardia, and Governor Lehman dedicate the New Deal’s first low cost housing project in NYC– 1935
- Discovery of the Pumpkin Papers” secret documents was announced”– 1948
- Annette Toft was two millionth immigrant to Canada since WWII ended– 1960
- Commonwealth Pacific Cable (COMPAC) opened– 1963
- Final run of luxury train 20th Century Limited finished– 1967
- Pioneer 10, U.S. unmanned spacecraft, reached its closest approach to Jupiter, 21 months after its launch– 1973
- Jupiter flyby of Pioneer 11 spacecraft– 1974
- Polar bear cub born, Toledo Zoo, Ohio– 2009
- A storm raged in Denver, Colorado, and eventually left 45.7 inches of snow, smashing a previous record– 1913
- Providence, Rhode Island, had a record high of 66 degrees F– 2009
- Boston, Massachusetts, had a temperature of 69 degrees F, breaking the old record of 65 degrees F for this date– 2009
- Concord, New Hampshire, set a record at 65 degrees F– 2009
- In Portland, Maine, the temperature reached 68 degrees F, beating the old record high of 55 for this date– 2009