Tags: US State Facts | Illinois History | Prairie State | Great Chicago Fire | The Black Hawk War

Illinois History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 23 February 2015 11:32 PM

Wars, riots and a massive fire have all been part of the colorful history of Illinois. Here are details of eight key events that have shaped the Prairie State.

1. Jolliet and Marquette Enter Illinois: In 1673, French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette became the first Europeans to enter present-day Iowa. France ceded the area to Great Britain at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, according to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

2. Americans Take Control: In 1778, United States forces led by George Rogers Clark defeated the British at Kaskaskia, securing the Illinois country for Virginia. The U.S. formally acquired present-day Illinois in 1783 as part of the treaty ending the Revolutionary War. Virginia relinquished its claim to the area in 1784. Illinois became a territory in 1809, with Kaskaskia as its capital.

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3. Illinois Becomes a State: Illinois became the 21st state of the United States in 1818. Initially, the state's capital was Kaskaskia, before Illinois moved its government to Vandalia in 1820. Years later, around 1839 the state's capital became Springfield.

4. The Black Hawk War: The Black Hawk War in 1832 ended with the Sauk and Fox Indians leaving the Illinois lands they had ceded to the United States in 1804. The treaty ending the war allowed for the acquisition and settlement of the last remaining Indian lands in Illinois.
5. Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat Stephen A. Douglas took part in seven historic debates during their 1858 campaign for election to an Illinois Senate seat, says the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Douglas won the seat but Lincoln won the election as president in 1860, holding that office until his assassination in 1865.

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6. Great Chicago Fire: The Great Chicago Fire in 1871 killed 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed thousands of buildings. Costing an estimated $200 million in damage, which would be more than $3 billion in today's money, according to History.com. Legend holds that the fire began when a cow kicked over a lantern, though it's uncertain whether that's true.

7. Haymarket Square Riot: The Haymarket Square bombing and riot during an 1886 labor rally in Chicago caused at least eight deaths. Eight anarchists were convicted of crimes related to the bombing, with four being hanged and one committing suicide while awaiting execution, says History.com.

8. Disorder at the Presidential Convention: Civil disorder erupted during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, with police reporting they made more than 650 arrests.

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Wars, riots and a massive fire have all been part of the colorful history of Illinois. Here are details of eight key events that have shaped the Prairie State.
Illinois History, Prairie State, Great Chicago Fire, The Black Hawk War
Monday, 23 February 2015 11:32 PM
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