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Portal:Illinois

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Illinois (/ˌɪləˈnɔɪ/ (About this soundlisten) IL-ə-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions 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.

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1856 illustration of the murder of George Davenport

The Banditti of the Prairie, also known as "The Prairie Bandits," "Pirates of the Prairie," "Prairie Pirates," or simply "The Banditti," in the U.S. state of Illinois, were a group of loose-knit outlaw gangs during the early-mid-19th century. Though bands of roving criminals were common in many parts of Illinois, the counties of Lee, DeKalb, Ogle, and Winnebago were especially affected by them. In the year 1841, the escalating pattern of burglary, horse and cattle theft, stagecoach and highway robbery, counterfeiting, and murder associated with the Banditti came to a head in Ogle County. As the crimes continued, local citizens formed bands of vigilantes known as Regulators. The clash between the Banditti and the Regulators in Ogle County resulted in a lynching in Oregon, Illinois and decreased Banditti activity within the county.

Banditti and Regulator activity continued well after the lynching of 1841. Crimes continued, committed by both sides, across northern and central Illinois. The Banditti were involved in the 1845 torture-murder of merchant Colonel George Davenport, the namesake of Davenport, Iowa. Edward Bonney, an amateur detective who hunted down and brought the killers to justice, wrote of his exploits and alibi, which were recounted in his book, Banditti of the Prairies, or the Murderer's Doom!!: A Tale of the Mississippi Valley, published in Chicago in 1850. The outlaw gangs also continued to be active in Lee and Winnebago counties following the events in Oregon.(Read more...)

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Paul Cornell

Paul Cornell (August 5, 1822 – March 3, 1904) was an American lawyer and Chicago real estate speculator who founded the Hyde Park Township that included most of what are now known as the south and far southeast sides of Chicago, Illinois. He turned the south side Lake Michigan lakefront area, especially the Hyde Park community area and neighboring Kenwood and Woodlawn neighborhoods, into a resort community that had its heyday from the 1850s through the early 20th century. He was also an urban planner who paved the way for and preserved many of the parks that are now in the Chicago Park District. Additionally, he was a successful entrepreneur with interests in manufacturing, cemeteries, and hotels. His modern legacy includes several large parks now in the Chicago Park District: Jackson Park, Washington Park, Midway Plaisance and Harold Washington Park. (Read more...)

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