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In 1673, Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette became the first Europeans to visit the area that is now Illinois. Cahokia, which was located near what is now the eastern part of St. Louis, was established in 1699 by the French. It was the first permanent settlement in the area. When the French and Indian Wars came to a close, which was in 1763, Great Britain controlled the region. The Indian wars and the Revolutionary War had a major impact on the region throughout the early part of the 1800s. See also Illinois History Page for more Details
The State of Illinois was organized as a Territory on March 1, 1809 and entered the union as the 21st state on December 3, 1818 . It has 102 Counties. The capital is Springfield and the official state website is www.illinois.gov/.
The State of Illinois is bordered by Indiana (east), Kentucky (southeast), Missouri (sourthwast), Iowa (northwest) and Wisconsin. It has a land area of 57,914 square miles making it the 25th largest state. The 2012 est. population was 12,875,255 and the The largest cities (2010) are Chicago, 2,695,598; Aurora, 197,899; Rockford, 152,871; Joliet, 147,433; Naperville, 141,853; Springfield, 116,250; Peoria, 115,007; Elgin, 108,188; Waukegan, 89,078; Cicero, 83,891.
The State of Illinois was named for the word Illini, a confederation of the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Moingwena, Peoria and Tamaroa Indian tribes. The Nickname is "Prairie State". The State Motto is "State Sovereignty, National Union".