National Illinois Day 2023 TW

Dec. 7 is National Illinois Day! To celebrate, let’s take a look at some of Illinois’ rich history.

National Illinois Day is celebrated annually every Dec. 7 to commemorate one of the nation’s most enchanting states.

Illinois is known for its prominence in the Midwest, is associated with many remarkable politicians in U.S. history, and has many great museums, food, entertainment, and other points of interest.

Illinois has the sixth-largest population of the states. It has the 25th largest land area. It also has the fifth-largest gross domestic product.

Known for its agricultural productivity, dairy products, manufacturing, soybean production, food and meat processing, and cattle production, Illinois is nicknamed “The Prairie State.”

Illinois is also a major transportation hub, with road networks and routes that connect to international ports, due to its proximity to Lake Michigan.

When farmers began their settling of the Illinois prairie, they had trouble sowing seeds into the thick soil. Luckily, a Vermont blacksmith named John Deere invented the steel plow, which made for much more efficient farming. Railroads and shipping lines grew with farms in the rich prairies as settlers spread across the state.

There are a number of past U.S. presidents that considered Illinois their home: Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Barack Obama. However, of these presidents, Reagan was the only president born in Illinois.

Here are some FAQs and “Did you know?” statements about Illinois and its history.

Has Springfield always been the capital of Illinois? – No, before it was Kaskaskia from 1809 to 1819, and Vandalia from 1819 to 1839.

Did you know that in 1693, French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet arrived in the region that became Illinois? They were exploring the Mississippi River, searching for a route to the Pacific Ocean.

Did you know that three rivers form part of the boundary of Illinois? The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River.

Did you know that they changed the flow of the Chicago River to prevent epidemics of diseases like cholera? On January 1, 1900 they reversed the river to empty into the Mississippi instead of the Michigan. It took eight years and 8,500 workers.

Did you know that the official language of Illinois was known as the American language? This fact lasted from 1923 to 1969, before it was changed to English.

Did you know that Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S., by population?

Illinois has a magnificent history, and today is the perfect day to become more acquainted with it!