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Starved Rock State Park
A Brief History of Illinois
The first inhabitants of Illinois were Native Americans, who built complex civilizations such as Cahokia, with a population of about 20,000 people at its peak around 1050 AD. Cahokia was the most significant urban center north of Mexico until the 1700s.
French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, in 1673, were the first Europeans to visit Illinois. They claimed the region for France and named it after the Illiniwek Confederation, a group of Native American tribes living there.
The region was ceded to Britain after the French and Indian War 1763. It became part of the United States after the American Revolution in 1783. Illinois was part of several territories before becoming a state in 1818.
Illinois played an essential role in developing the United States as a transportation hub, an industrial powerhouse, and a political leader. It was home to Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Barack Obama, and many other influential figures. It also witnessed significant events such as the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, and the Chicago World's Fair of 1933.
Location & Climate
Illinois has a continental climate with four distinct seasons. The winters are cold and snowy, especially in the northern part of the state, where temperatures can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The summers are hot and humid, especially in the southern part of the state, where temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The springs and falls are mild and pleasant, with colorful foliage and blooming flowers.
The average annual precipitation in Illinois is about 40 inches, with more rain falling in the south than in the north. The state is prone to severe weather, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, and droughts.
Fun Facts of Illinois and Pets
Illinois has an official state animal: the white-tailed deer. It also has an official state bird, the northern cardinal; an official state fish, the bluegill; an official state insect, the monarch butterfly; an official state reptile, the painted turtle; and an official state fossil, the Tully monster.
Illinois is home to the world's most giant catsup bottle, which stands 170 feet tall in Collinsville. It was built in 1949 as a water tower for the Brooks Catsup Company and is now a national historic landmark.
Illinois is also home to the world's most giant rocking chair, which stands 56 feet tall in Casey. It was built in 2015 by Jim Bolin, who made several other big objects in the town, such as a mailbox, a pencil, and a golf tee.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Illinois has more than 2 million pet dogs and more than 1.5 million cats. Illinois's most popular dog breeds are Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers. The most popular cat breeds in Illinois are domestic shorthairs, Siamese, and Maine coons.