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Portal:Illinois

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Illinois is a state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 5th most populous and 25th largest state, and is often noted as a microcosm of the country. With Chicago and its suburbs 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 diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub.

Prehistoric Illinois was the site of Cahokia, the largest urban center of the Mississippian culture. The Illinois Confederation, from which the state takes its name, dominated the region during the contact period, but by the time of the American Revolution, only about 2,000 Native Americans and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area. Anglo-American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s. Illinois achieved statehood in 1818. Northerners arrived later via the Great Lakes, founding Chicago in the 1830s. The invention of the steel plow and growth of railroads made it possible to profitably farm the rich prairie land of central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, industry was growing rapidly in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and many African Americans in the Great Migration from the Southern United States, who developed renowned jazz and blues cultures in Chicago.

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Interstate 355 map.

Interstate 355 is an interstate highway and tollway in the western and southwest suburbs of ChicagoIllinois, U.S.. Like other tollways in the northeastern portion of the state, I-355 is maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (abbreviated ISTHA, but commonly referred to as the "tollway authority"). I-355 runs from Interstate 80 in New Lenox north to Interstate 290 in Itasca, The highway is six lanes wide for its entire length.

The tollway authority opened I-355 as the North–South Tollway in 1989 to ease congestion on Illinois Route 53 (IL 53), a parallel two-lane state highway in central DuPage County. Initially, I-355 ran from I-55 north to I-290. The new highway helped cut travel times for commuters traveling north and south in the county. According to commercial real estate developers at the time, the new tollway also opened the western suburbs of Chicago to commercial and industrial development.

On November 112007, the tollway authority opened a southern extension of I-355 from I-55 to I-80, a distance of 12.5 miles (20.1 km); on its opening, the tollway authority changed the name of the tollway to "Veterans Memorial Tollway". The tollway authority laid the route of the new extension through Will County and a small portion of Cook County, one of the fastest-growing regions in Illinois. The tollway authority expects the extension to cut travel times in the region by 20 percent. (Read more...)

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Ninian Edwards

Ninian Edwards (March 17, 1775 – July 20, 1833) was a founding political figure of the state of Illinois. He served as the only governor of the Illinois Territory from 1809 to 1818, as one of the first two United States Senators from Illinois from 1818 to 1824, and as the third Governor of Illinois from 1826 to 1830. Born in Maryland, Edwards began his political career in Kentucky. In 1809, U.S. President James Madison appointed him to govern the newly created Illinois Territory. He held that post for three terms, overseeing the territory's transition to statehood in 1818. On its second day in session, the Illinois General Assembly elected Edwards to the U.S. Senate. Edwards won an unlikely 1826 election to become Governor of Illinois. As governor or territorial governor he twice sent Illinois militia against Native Americans, in the War of 1812 and the Winnebago War, and signed treaties for the cession of Native American land. Edwards returned to private life when his term ended in 1830 and died of cholera two years later. (Read more...)

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Chicago world's fair, a century of progress, expo poster, 1933, 2.jpg

A poster for Century of Progress World's Fair showing exhibition buildings with boats on water in foreground..
Image credit: Weimer Pursell (artist); Neely Printing Co., Chicago (silkscreen print); Jujutacular (digital retouching)

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