Illinois is a state of the United States and the 21st state admitted to the Union. Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest and the fifth most populous in the nation. Its balance of the metropolis of Chicago and its suburbs in the northeast, as well as rural areas, small industrial cities, and the coal mines of the south give it a highly diverse economic base. Its central location, connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River, made it a transportation hub for 150 years.
About 2,000 Native American hunters and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area at the time of the American Revolution. American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s; they achieved statehood in 1818. Yankees arrived a little later and dominated the north, founding the future city of Chicago in the 1830s. The coming of the railroads in the 1850s made highly profitable the rich prairie farmlands in central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, factories were being rapidly built in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, and also led to the state's material contribution as a major arsenal in both world wars. In addition to immigrants from Europe, large numbers of blacks left the cotton fields of the South to come to Chicago, where they developed a renowned jazz culture.
The Smashing Pumpkins are an American alternative rock band that formed in Chicago in 1988. While the group has gone through several lineup changes, The Smashing Pumpkins consisted of Billy Corgan (vocals/guitar), James Iha (guitar/vocals), D'arcy Wretzky (bass/vocals), and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums/percussion) for most of the band's recording career.
The Smashing Pumpkins broke into the musical mainstream with their second album, 1993's Siamese Dream. The group built their audience with extensive touring and their follow-up, 1995's double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. With approximately 18.3 million albums sold in the United States alone as of 2006, The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. However, internal fighting, drug use, and diminishing sales hampered the band and led to a 2000 break-up. In April 2006, the band officially announced that they were reuniting and recording a new album. Returning members Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin were joined by new additions Jeff Schroeder (guitar) and Ginger Reyes (bass) in 2007 to tour behind their new release, Zeitgeist. (Read more...)
- May 19-21, 2012: Chicago is scheduled to be the host city for the large scale NATO summit of world leaders (NATO official website).
- August 17, 2010: Former Governor Rod Blagojevich is found guilty on felony charges of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Twenty-two other counts resulted in a hung jury. (Chicago Tribune)
- May 24, 2010: 100,000 pounds of fish are poisoned with Rotenone in the Little Calumet River in an effort to curb the advance of Asian carp. (AP)
- April 1, 2010: John Thornton, the mayor of the village of Washington Park, is found murdered in his car. (AP)
- March 27, 2010: The Democratic Party of Illinois nominates Sheila Simon as its candidate for Lieutenant Governor, replacing candidate Scott Lee Cohen. (AP)
- December 15, 2009: President Barack Obama issues a Presidential memorandum to arrange a transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention camp to the Thomson Correctional Center. (CNN)
- July 23, 2009: Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game, become the 17th in Major League Baseball history to accomplish the feat. (MLB.com)
- July 1, 2009: The Illinois minimum wage rises twenty-five cents to $8.00 an hour. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. (Chicago Sun-Times)
- June 20, 2009: A freight train carrying ethanol derails and explodes in Rockford. One person is killed and nine others were injured. (WIFR)
- June 12, 2009: The U.S. Department of Energy reveals a $1.073 billion plan to develop a clean coal project in Illinois, reversing the stance taken during the George W. Bush administration. (Wall Street Journal)
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