|State of Illinois|
|Spoken language(s)||English (80.8%)|
|Largest metro area||Chicago metropolitan area|
|Area||Ranked 25th in the US|
|- Total||57,914 sq mi |
|- Width||210 miles (340 km)|
|- Length||395 miles (629 km)|
|- % water||4.0/ Negligible|
|- Latitude||36° 58′ N to 42° 30′ N|
|- Longitude||87° 30′ W to 91° 31′ W|
|Population||Ranked 5th in the US|
|- Total||12,910,409 (2009 est.)|
|- Density||223.4/sq mi (86.27/km2)|
Ranked 12th in the US
|- Median income||$54,124 (17)|
|- Highest point||Charles Mound|
1,235 ft (377 m)
|- Mean||600 ft (182 m)|
|- Lowest point||Mississippi River|
279 ft (85 m)
|Admission to Union||December 3, 1818 (21st)|
|Governor||Pat Quinn (D)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Sheila Simon (D)|
|- Upper house||Senate|
|- Lower house||House of Representatives|
|U.S. Senators||Dick Durbin (D)|
Mark Kirk (R)
|U.S. House delegation||11 Republicans, 8 Democrats (list)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
|Abbreviations||IL, Ill., List of U.S. state abbreviations#Traditional abbreviations US-IL|
|The Flag of Illinois.|
|The Seal of Illinois.|
|Amphibian||Eastern Tiger Salamander|
|Food||Gold Rush Apple • Popcorn|
|Poem||The Death Poem|
|Slogan(s)||"Land of Lincoln"|
|Soil||Drummer silty clay loam|
|Released in 2003|
|Lists of United States state insignia|
Illinois ( ) is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. It is the most populous state in the Midwest region; however with 65% of its residents concentrated in the Chicago metropolitan area, most of the state has either a rural or a small town character. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a broad economic base. Illinois is an important transportation hub; the Port of Chicago connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River. As the "most average state", Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and politics.
In the 1810s settlers began arriving from Kentucky; Illinois achieved statehood in 1818. The state filled up from south to north. Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan. Railroads and John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois' rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. 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. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to Chicago, established a large community that created the city's famous jazz and blues cultures.
Three U.S. Presidents have been elected while living in Illinois — Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. However, only President Ronald Reagan, born in Tampico and raised in Dixon, grew up in the state. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan, Land of Lincoln, which is displayed on its license plates.
"Illinois" is the modern spelling for the early French missionaries and explorers' name for the Illinois people, a name that was spelled in many different ways in the early records.
The name "Illinois" has traditionally been said to mean "man" or "men" in the Miami-Illinois language, with the original iliniwek transformed via French into Illinois. However, this etymology is not supported by the Illinois language itself, in which the word for 'man' is ireniwa and plural 'man' is ireniwaki. The name Illiniwek has also been said to mean "tribe of superior men", though this is nothing more than a folk etymology. In fact the name "Illinois" derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa "he speaks the regular way". This was then taken into the Ojibwe language, perhaps in the Ottawa dialect, and modified into ilinwe· (pluralized as ilinwe·k). These forms were then borrowed into French, where the /we/ ending acquired the spelling -ois. The current form, Illinois, began to appear in the early 1670s. The Illinois's name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms.
Native Americans lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years. The Koster Site has been excavated and demonstrated 7,000 years of continuous habitation. Cahokia, the largest regional chiefdom and urban center of the Pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. They built more than 100 mounds and a Woodhenge in a planned design expressing the culture's cosmology. The civilization vanished in the 15th century for unknown reasons, but historians and archeologists have speculated that the people depleted the area of resources. Many of the tribes engaged in constant warfare. At one site in the central Illinois River valley, one-third of all adults died as a result of violent injuries.
The next major power in the region was the Illinois Confederation or Illini, a political alliance among several tribes. There were about 25,000 Illinois Indians in 1700, but systematic attacks and warfare by the Iroquois reduced their numbers by 90%. Gradually, members of the Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, and other tribes came in from the east and north. In the American Revolution, the Illinois and Potawatomi supported the American colonists' cause.