The name "Illinois" comes from a Native American word meaning "tribe of superior men."
Illinois became a state on December 3, 1818. Illinois was the 21st state to enter the Union. It had a population of 34,620 people. Illinois is now the sixth most populous state in the country with almost 11.5 million people.
The state song is “Illinois.”
Illinois’ state animal is the white-tailed deer.
The state slogan, "Land of Lincoln," was adopted by the General Assembly in 1955. The State of Illinois has a copyright for the exclusive use of the slogan.
Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton hosted the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates that stirred interest in the slavery issue all over the country.
The first aquarium opened in Chicago in 1893.
The world's first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885.
Illinois is home to the Chicago Bears Football Team, Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, Chicago Bulls basketball team, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball teams, and Chicago Fire soccer team.
Peoria is the oldest community in Illinois.
Illinois’ state fruit is the Goldrush apple.
The Illinois state reptile is the painted turtle.
The Willis Tower, located in Chicago, is the tallest building on the North American continent. It was the world's tallest building from 1973 until 1996. It covers two city blocks and rises one-quarter mile above the ground. It is still the tallest building to the top of the roof (1,450 feet) and has the highest occupied floor (1,431 feet).
Metropolis, the home of Superman, really exists in southern Illinois.
Illinois is home to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which is the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico.
Illinois had two different capital cities, Kaskaskia and Vandalia, before Springfield.
The Illinois state fossil is the Tully monster.
The Illinois state prairie grass is big bluestem.
Illinois was the home of President Ulysses S. Grant, whose home is preserved in Galena.
The NFL's ChicagoBears were first known as the "Staley Bears." They were organized in Decatur in 1920.
In 1865, Illinois became the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.
On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and a small band of scientists and engineers demonstrated that a simple construction of graphite bricks and uranium lumps could produce controlled heat. The space chosen for the first nuclear fission reactor was a squash court under the football stadium at the University of Chicago.
Illinois’ state tree is the white oak.
The Illinois state mineral is fluorite.
Springfield is the state capital and the home of the national historic site of the home of President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is buried just outside Springfield at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.
Chicago is home to the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire.
The Illinois state insect is the monarch butterfly.
Illinois’ state snack food is popcorn.
Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he served in the Illinois legislature and practiced law in Springfield.
Carlyle is the home of the largest man-made lake in Illinois.
Illinois has 102 counties.
Ronald Reagan, born in Tampico and raised in Dixon, became the 40th president of the United States in 1980.
The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound at 1,235 feet above sea level.
The state motto is “State Sovereignty, National Union.”
The Illinois state amphibian is the eastern tiger salamander.
Illinois’ state flower is the violet.
Evanston is the home of the ice cream sundae.
The first silo was constructed on a farm in Spring Grove.
The Illinois state dance is square dancing.
The Illinois state bird is the cardinal.
Illinois’ state fish is the bluegill.
At over 6,000, Illinois has more units of government (i.e., city, county, township, etc.) than any other state. One reason for this may be the township governments, which generally govern areas of just 6 square miles.
In 1905, the president of the Chicago Cubs filed charges against a fan in the bleachers for catching a fly ball and keeping it.
Unlike most skyscrapers, the Chicago's Mercantile Exchange building was built entirely without an internal steel skeleton; it depends on its thick walls to keep itself up.
The abbreviation "ORD" for Chicago's O'Hare airport comes from the original name, Orchard Field. The airport was renamed in honor of Lieutenant Commander Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare.
The trains that pass through Chicago's underground freight tunnels daily would extend over 10 miles total in length.
In Mount Pulaski, it is illegal for boys (and only boys) to hurl snowballs at trees.
Illinois is known for its varied weather, including major winter storms, deadly tornadoes, and spectacular heat and cold waves.
The first birth on record in Chicago was that of Eulalia Pointe du Sable, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable and his Potawatomi Native American wife, in 1796.
Chicago's Mercy Hospital was the first hospital in Illinois.
The first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo was a bear cub, which was bought for $10 on June 1, 1874.
The University of Chicago opened on October 1, 1892, with an enrollment of 594 and a faculty of 103.
Comedy showcase "Second City" was founded on North Wells Street in a former Chinese laundry in 1959.
Chicago's first African American mayor, Harold Washington, took office in 1983.
The four stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition.
The Chicago PublicLibrary is the world's largest public library, with a collection of more than 2 million books.
The Chicago Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through.
The Chicago River is dyed green on Saint Patrick's Day.
Chicago is home to the world's largest cookie and cracker factory, where Nabisco made 16 billion Oreo cookies in 1995.
Illinois’ state soil is Drummer silty clay loam.