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French Empire Canadiens came south to settle particularly along the Mississippi River, and Illinois was part of first New France, and then of La Louisiane until 1763, when it passed to the British with their defeat of France in the Seven Years' War. A few British soldiers were posted in Illinois, but few British or American settlers moved there, as the Crown made it part of the territory reserved for Indians west of the Appalachians, and then part of the British Province of Quebec.

The small French settlements continued, although many French migrated west to Ste. In 1778, George Rogers Clark claimed Illinois County for Virginia.

The current spelling form, Illinois, began to appear in the early 1670s, when French colonists had settled in the western area.

The Illinois's name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms.

American Indians of successive cultures lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.

state and 25th largest state in terms of land area, and is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States.

After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. After construction of the Erie Canal increased traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan.

John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden.

Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars.

The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in the state, including Chicago, who created the city's famous jazz and blues cultures. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, and Hillary Clinton, the first female candidate of a major party in the general election, were both born and raised in Illinois.

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The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper.