Illinois

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Illinois (Listeni /ˌɪlɪˈnɔɪ/ IL-i-noy) is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country.[6] 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",[6] Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms[6] 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.[7] 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. Its manufacturing made the state a major arsenal in 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.

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