Notable Events
  • 1673. Marquette and Jolliet descend the Mississippi, return to Wisconsin via Illinois River and Lake Michigan.
  • 1675. Marquette founds mission near Starved Rock.
  • 1680. La Salle builds fort Crevecoeur near Peoria.
  • 1682. La Salle erects Fort St. Louis at Starved Rock.
  • 1691-92. Henri de Tonti, La Salle's lieutenant, constructs new Fort St. Louis on Lake Peoria.
  • 1699. French found Holy Family Mission at Cahokia.
  • 1717. Region made a district of the French province of Louisiana.
  • 1720. Fort de Chartres built by French north of Kaskaskia.
  • 1763. Illinois is in area ceded by French to British after French and Indian War.
  • 1778. George Rogers Clark captures Kaskaskia and Cahokia from British. Virginia claims Illinois; cedes land to United States in 1784.
  • 1787. Northwest Territory organized; includes Illinois.
  • 1800. Indiana Territory created; includes Illinois.
  • 1803. Fort Dearborn constructed on site of Chicago.
  • 1804. Sauk and Fox Indians cede to United States lands east of the Mississippi River.
  • 1809. Illinois Territory created; capital, Kaskaskia.
  • 1812. Indians massacre Fort Dearborn troops.
  • 1818. Illinois becomes 21st state, December 3; capital, Kaskaskia; governor, Shadrach Bond. Illinois's northern border fixed at 42° 30' N. latitude.
  • 1820. State capital moved to Vandalia.
  • 1824. Proslavery constitutional amendment defeated.
  • 1832. Black Hawk War drives Sauk and Fox from Illinois. Potawatomi and Winnebago cede land.
  • 1833. Chicago incorporated; becomes a city in 1837.
  • 1837. Springfield chosen state capital; legislature meets there in 1839. Abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy killed by proslavery mob.
  • 1839. Mormons found Nauvoo; leaders, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, killed in 1844; Mormons leave for Utah in 1846.
  • 1848. Illinois and Michigan Canal opened.
  • 1851. Illinois Central Railroad chartered.
  • 1858. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, Senate candidates, hold famous debates.
  • 1860. Lincoln elected 16th president of United States.
  • 1867. University of Illinois founded at Urbana.
  • 1871. Great Chicago Fire burns heart of city.
  • 1886. Haymarket Square riot occurs in Chicago.
  • 1888. Present State Capitol built.
  • 1889. Jane Addams founds Hull House in Chicago.
  • 1893. World's Columbian Exposition held at Chicago.
  • 1894. Pullman Car Company workers strike in Chicago.
  • 1900. Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal completed.
  • 1933. Illinois Waterway opened.
  • 1933-34. Century of Progress world's fair held at Chicago.
  • 1937. Oil strikes in Marion County result in boom.
  • 1957. Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, activates first experimental nuclear power generating system in United States. First privately financed nuclear plant in United States dedicated in Morris in 1960.
  • 1958. Illinois Tollway opened.
  • 1959. Opening of St. Lawrence Seaway makes Chicago an ocean port.
  • 1963. New federal prison opened at Marion.
  • 1966. Weston designated site for world's largest atomic research facility.
  • 1970. New state constitution adopted.
  • 1973. Sears Tower, world's tallest building at 1,450 feet, completed in Chicago.
  • 1985. First Farm Aid concert held in Champaign to benefit debt-strapped United States farmers.
  • 1987. Popular Chicago mayor Harold Washington dies in office.
  • 1988. First night game held at Wrigley Field, home of Chicago Cubs professional baseball team.
  • 1989. Illinois opens the first state trade office in Moscow.
  • 1990. Tornado kills 28 people and injures more than 300 when it destroys neighborhoods in Joliet, Oswego, and Plainfield area.
  • 1993. The worst upper Mississippi River flood of the century inundates many river towns and thousands of acres of farmland.

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