Happy 201st Birthday to Illinois!

Statehood Date: December 3, 1818

The first Europeans to visit Illinois were the French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673, but the region was ceded to Britain after the French and Indian War. After the American Revolution, Illinois became a territory of the United States, and achieved statehood in 1818.

Located on Lake Michigan, and connected to the eastern ports via the Erie Canal, Chicago became a booming metropolis, and even the fire of 1871 could not stunt its growth. In the second half of the 19th century, the great need for workers in the mills, rail yards and slaughterhouses made Chicago a popular destination for immigrants and freed blacks.

If you would like a copy of the “Illinois Activities Book for Kids” for your child or grandchild, please contact the district office in Louisville at 618-665-4109.

State Capital: Springfield

Population: 12,830,632 (2010)

Size: 57,916 square miles

State Nicknames: The Prairie State; The Land of Lincoln

State Motto: State Sovereignty, National Union

State Tree: White Oak

State Flower: Violet

State Bird: Cardinal

Learn about the ten oldest towns in Illinois by clicking here.