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Portal:Illinois

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The Illinois Portal

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Illinois (/ˌɪləˈnɔɪ/ (About this soundlisten) 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.

Selected article

Interstate 355 map.

Interstate 355 is an interstate highway and tollway in the western and southwest suburbs of ChicagoIllinois, United States. Like other tollways in the northeastern portion of the state, I-355 is maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (abbreviated ISTHA, but commonly referred to as the "tollway authority"). I-355 runs from Interstate 80 in New Lenox north to Interstate 290 in Itasca, The highway is six lanes wide for its entire length.

The tollway authority opened I-355 as the North–South Tollway in 1989 to ease congestion on Illinois Route 53 (IL 53), a parallel two-lane state highway in central DuPage County. Initially, I-355 ran from I-55 north to I-290. The new highway helped cut travel times for commuters traveling north and south in the county. According to commercial real estate developers at the time, the new tollway also opened the western suburbs of Chicago to commercial and industrial development.

On November 11, 2007, the tollway authority opened a southern extension of I-355 from I-55 to I-80, a distance of 12.5 miles (20.1 km); on its opening, the tollway authority changed the name of the tollway to "Veterans Memorial Tollway". The tollway authority laid the route of the new extension through Will County and a small portion of Cook County, one of the fastest-growing regions in Illinois. The tollway authority expects the extension to cut travel times in the region by 20 percent. (Read more...)

Selected biography

1825 portrait of George Rogers Clark

George Rogers Clark (November 19, 1752 – February 13, 1818) was an American surveyor, soldier, and militia officer from Virginia who became the highest-ranking American patriot military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. He served as leader of the militia in Kentucky (then part of Virginia) throughout much of the war. He is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia (1778) and Vincennes (1779) during the Illinois Campaign, which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. The British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, and Clark has often been hailed as the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest". Clark's major military achievements occurred before his thirtieth birthday. Afterward, he led militia in the opening engagements of the Northwest Indian War, but was accused of being drunk on duty. He was disgraced and forced to resign. During the final decades of his life, he worked to evade creditors and suffered living in increasing poverty and obscurity. (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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