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 1968 Illinois earthquake was the largest recorded earthquake in the "Prairie State", measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale. Although there were no fatalities, the earthquake caused considerable structural damage to buildings, including the toppling of chimneys. The earthquake was one of the most widely felt in U.S. history, affecting 23 states over an area of 580,000 square miles (1,500,000 km2). In studying its cause, scientists discovered the Cottage Grove Fault in the Southern Illinois Basin.
Within the region, millions felt the rupture. Reactions to the earthquake varied: some people near the epicenter did not react to the shaking, while others panicked. A future earthquake in the region is extremely likely; seismologists and geologists estimate a 90% chance of a magnitude 6–7 tremor before 2055, likely originating in the Wabash Valley seismic zone on the Illinois–Indiana border, or the New Madrid fault zone. (Read more...)
CM Punk is an American professional wrestler and wrestling color commentator currently signed to WWE on its Raw brand. Punk initially came to prominence through his career on the professional wrestling independent circuit, primarily as a member of the Ring of Honor (ROH) roster, where he won the ROH Tag Team Championship, ROH World Championship, and was the first head trainer of the ROH wrestling school. In 2005, Punk signed a contract with WWE and was sent to its developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he won every championship available in the promotion.
Throughout his career, Punk has consistently used the gimmick of being straight edge, a lifestyle he follows in real life. Depending on Punk's alignment as a crowd favorite or villain, he emphasizes different aspects of the culture to encourage the desired audience reaction. Since becoming the leader of The New Nexus, Punk's character has changed and evolved that his identity as a straight edge has no longer been mentioned and Punk himself refers himself as a prophet and portrays himself as a leader stereotype who guides his followers. 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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