About 12 million people live in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln. Illinois is also home to Chicago, the third largest metropolis in the USA.

Illinois belongs to the so-called Great Lakes Region in northeast North America, which stretches from the USA to Canada. About 12 million people live in the US state, only California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania have more residents. With Chicago, Illinois is also the third largest city in the United States (metropolitan area with around 9 million residents), but Springfield (around 115,000 residents) in the center of the state is considered the capital. Illinois’ neighbors are Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

Illinois – The History of the Land of Lincoln

Illinois is often referred to as the Land of Lincoln because it was the home of the 16th President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) and spent his early years as a member of Parliament. The Koster Site archaeological site indicates that Illinois dates back to 7500 BC. Chr was settled. In the 8th to 13th centuries, the so-called Mississippi culture lived here, named after the over 3700 km long river that also runs through Illinois. From the Mississippi culture later tribes like the Apalachee, Missouri, Creek, Cherokee and the eponymous Illinois emerged. The first Europeans in the region are the French Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, who explored the Illinois River around 1673. Finally, in 1818, Illinois was made a US state.

Illinois Cities and Landmarks

Chicago is considered the only metropolis in Illinois. Aurora, the second largest city, has just under 200,000 residents in comparison. This is followed by Rockford (150,000), Joliet (147,000) and Naperville (140,000). The capital Springfield is the sixth largest city in the US state, and the house and grave of Abraham Lincoln are also located here. In addition to Lincoln’s residence, historic Route 66 and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cahokia-Mounds, which is reminiscent of the Mississippi culture, are among the attractions of the northwestern state.

Illinois State Bird and Flower

Largest Counties in Illinois by Area

According to Countryaah, the biggest counties in Illinois are listed as below:

Ranking County Area
1 McLean County 3,064 km2
2 LaSalle County 2,940 km2
3 Iroquois County 2,893 km2
4 Livingston County 2,701 km2
5 Champaign County 2,580 km2
6 Cook County 2,445 km2
7 Vermilion County 2,326 km2
8 Bureau County 2,251 km2
9 Sangamon County 2,248 km2
10 Fulton County 2,240 km2
11 Macoupin County 2,233 km2
12 Adams County 2,214 km2
13 Will County 2,163 km2
14 Pike County 2,152 km2
15 Henry County 2,129 km2
16 Hancock County 2,054 km2
17 Ogle County 1,963 km2
18 Shelby County 1,963 km2
19 Lee County 1,875 km2
20 Fayette County 1,854 km2
21 Knox County 1,854 km2
22 Madison County 1,854 km2
23 Wayne County 1,847 km2
24 Christian County 1,836 km2
25 Montgomery County 1,821 km2
26 Whiteside County 1,772 km2
27 Kankakee County 1,751 km2
28 St. Clair County 1,702 km2
29 Tazewell County 1,673 km2
30 DeKalb County 1,634 km2
31 Edgar County 1,614 km2
32 Logan County 1,601 km2
33 Peoria County 1,601 km2
34 McHenry County 1,562 km2
35 Jo Daviess County 1,554 km2
36 McDonough County 1,526 km2
37 Jackson County 1,513 km2
38 Macon County 1,502 km2
39 Randolph County 1,489 km2
40 Marion County 1,481 km2
41 Jefferson County 1,479 km2
42 Morgan County 1,471 km2
43 Stephenson County 1,461 km2
44 Washington County 1,456 km2
45 Mercer County 1,453 km2
46 Greene County 1,406 km2
47 Warren County 1,404 km2
48 Mason County 1,396 km2
49 Woodford County 1,365 km2
50 Kane County 1,344 km2
51 Winnebago County 1,329 km2
52 Coles County 1,316 km2
53 Clark County 1,298 km2
54 Jasper County 1,279 km2
55 White County 1,279 km2
56 Ford County 1,256 km2
57 Effingham County 1,238 km2
58 Clinton County 1,228 km2
59 Clay County 1,212 km2
60 Carroll County 1,153 km2
61 Crawford County 1,147 km2
62 Lake County 1,147 km2
63 Perry County 1,142 km2
64 Piatt County 1,137 km2
65 Schuyler County 1,132 km2
66 Hamilton County 1,124 km2
67 Rock Island County 1,106 km2
68 Williamson County 1,088 km2
69 Grundy County 1,083 km2
70 Douglas County 1,077 km2
71 Union County 1,070 km2
72 Franklin County 1,057 km2
73 DeWitt County 1,028 km2
74 Marshall County 1,000 km2
75 Monroe County 997 km2
76 Bond County 984 km2
77 Saline County 982 km2
78 Henderson County 979 km2
79 Cass County 971 km2
80 Lawrence County 963 km2
81 Jersey County 956 km2
82 Pope County 953 km2
83 Richland County 932 km2
84 Cumberland County 894 km2
85 Johnson County 888 km2
86 Moultrie County 868 km2
87 DuPage County 847 km2
88 Gallatin County 834 km2
89 Kendall County 829 km2
90 Menard County 813 km2
91 Brown County 790 km2
92 Stark County 746 km2
93 Boone County 725 km2
94 Calhoun County 655 km2
95 Scott County 647 km2
96 Massac County 614 km2
97 Alexander County 609 km2
98 Wabash County 578 km2
99 Edwards County 575 km2
100 Pulaski County 515 km2
101 Hardin County 458 km2
102 Putnam County 414 km2


History: The first official residents and namesake of Chicago were the Potawatomis Indians, who settled the area of ​​Chicago around the 18th century and were later expelled. The Haitian Jean Baptiste Point du Sable established the first trading post around 1770 and thus laid the foundation for the rapidly growing trade. Thanks to Chicago’s favorable location on Lake Michigan and its connection to the east / west railroad, Chicago became an increasingly important trading center and trade flourished.

In the decades that followed, more and more immigrants were drawn to trade and rapidly developing industry. From 1880 to 1890 the population doubled to over a million residents, and by 1910 it was already 2 million. Mostly Irish and Germans came, but also tens of thousands of African-Americans from the southern states of the USA. The explosive migration increased the social problems. During this time, trade unions that campaigned for workers’ rights became more and more important. A strike on May 1, 1886, during which workers demonstrated for the eight-hour week (12 hours was common at that time), ended in a riot. This day went down in history, because since then the 1st of May has been celebrated as Labor Day.

Cultural: Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, The Chicago History Museum

Attractions: The Navy Pier, the 1,010 m long jetty on the coast of Lake Michigan, was built in 1916, was expanded as the port and entertainment district. The pier offers many activities ranging from theater performances, a lap on the ferris wheel, a boat tour or a visit to one of the restaurants. Another highlight of Chicago is the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, which was built in the Rococo style and is one of the largest fountains in the world. A number of festivals and events take place there in the summer, such as the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival or the Grant Park Music Festival. The Millennium Park, located not far from the shores of Lake Michigan, it was originally built to celebrate the turn of the century. Due to its special architecture and the futuristic open-air stage, the park is something very special. The former Sears Towers has now been renamed “Willis Tower” and was the tallest building in the world in 1974, the year it was built. Today the tower is the tallest building in Chicago and the USA with a height of 442m. The tower is open 356 days a year and is open to groups and individuals.

Famous people: Barack Obama (44th President of the USA), Philip Roth (writer), Jennifer Hudson (singer), Kanye West (rapper), Michael Jordan (basketball player), Oprah Winfrey (talk show host), Jesse Jackson (politician and civil rights activist), R. Kelly (singer)