Illinois became a part of the United States on Dec. 3, 1818, making it the nation's 21st state. At 57,918 square miles, it is the 25th largest state in the union, and it is the fifth most populous state, with 12,882,135 citizens, as of 2013.Continue Reading
The state derives its name from a Native American term meaning "tribe of superior men." President Abraham Lincoln spent some of his life in Illinois, earning the state the name "Land of Lincoln." The state's nickname is the Prairie State. The cardinal is the state bird, the Illinois native violet is the state flower and the painted turtle is the state reptile. The oldest community in the state is Peoria, while Chicago is the largest city and Springfield is Illinois' capital.
Major industries within the state include agriculture, especially wheat, soybeans, corn, rye and oats. Other important industries are mining, manufacturing and cattle farming. Major bodies of water and waterways are the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Illinois River and Lake Michigan.
States that border Illinois are Wisconsin to the north, Missouri and Iowa to the west, Kentucky to the south and Indiana to the east. In addition to Lincoln, other Presidents who formerly lived in the state include Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.Learn more about The Midwest