Portal:Illinois
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Portal:Illinois

The Illinois Portal

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Illinois ( IL-?-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is located in the central part of the state. Although today's Illinois' largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled the vast Mississippi of the Illinois Country of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, and new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.

Selected article

The BP Bridge viewed from The Buckingham in Lakeshore East.

The BP Pedestrian Bridge is a girder footbridge in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. It spans Columbus Drive to connect Daley Bicentennial Plaza with Millennium Park, both parts of the larger Grant Park. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, it opened along with the rest of Millennium Park on July 16, 2004. Gehry had been courted by the city to design the bridge and the neighboring Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and eventually agreed to do so after the Pritzker family funded the Pavilion.

The pedestrian bridge serves as a noise barrier for traffic sounds from Columbus Drive. It is a connecting link between Millennium Park and destinations to the east, such as the nearby lakefront, other parts of Grant Park and a parking garage. BP Bridge uses a concealed box girder design with a concrete base, and its deck is covered by hardwood floor boards. It is designed without handrails, using stainless steel parapets instead. The total length is 935 feet (285 m), with a five percent slope on its inclined surfaces that makes it barrier free and accessible to all. Although the bridge closes in winter because ice cannot be safely removed from its wooden walkway, it has received favorable reviews for its design and aesthetics. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Emmett Till (July 25, 1941 - August 28, 1955) was an African-American teenager who was lynched in Mississippi at the age of 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till was from Chicago and visiting relatives in Money, a small town in the Mississippi Delta region. He spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store there. Several nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went to Till's great-uncle's house and abducted the boy. They took him away and beat and mutilated him before shooting him and sinking his body in the Tallahatchie River. Three days later, Till's body was discovered and retrieved from the river.

Till's body was returned to Chicago. His mother, who had mostly raised him, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing. Tens of thousands attended his funeral or viewed his casket and images of his mutilated body were published in black-oriented magazines and newspapers, rallying popular black support and white sympathy across the U.S. Intense scrutiny was brought to bear on the condition of black civil rights in Mississippi, with newspapers around the country critical of the state. In September 1955, Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Till's kidnapping and murder. Protected against double jeopardy, Bryant and Milam publicly admitted in an interview with Look magazine that they killed Till. The trial of Bryant and Milam attracted a vast amount of press attention. Till's murder is noted as a pivotal catalyst to the next phase of the Civil Rights Movement. (Read more...)

Did you know...

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Spot-winged Glider - Pantala hymenaea, Bles Park, Ashburn, Virginia - 7680788092.jpg
  • ... that Chicago alderman Dorsey Crowe survived falling 800 feet (240 m) from a plane and being thrown through the roof of a car?
  • ... that the spot-winged glider (pictured) is a migratory dragonfly?



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Cities: Aurora o Carbondale o Champaign o Chicago o Cicero o Decatur o Elgin o Joliet o Marion o Naperville o Rockford o Peoria o Springfield o Waukegan

Culture: Chicago Blues Festival o Chicago Jazz Festival o Chicago Symphony Orchestra o Cornerstone Festival o Dillo Day o Illinois Shakespeare Festival o Illinois State Fair o Illinois' Poets Laureate o List of museums in Illinois o Lollapalooza o Lyric Opera of Chicago o Music o Pitchfork Music Festival o Ravinia Festival o Taste of Chicago

Education: Higher education o Secondary education

Environment: Ecoregions of Illinois o Geography of Illinois o Geology of Illinois o Protected areas of Illinois

Government: Constitution o Economy o Politics o State Capitol

History: Chicago o Illiniwek o Illinois Central o Illinois-Wabash Company o Illinois Territory o Abraham Lincoln o Black Hawk War o Cahokia o 1871 Great Chicago Fire o Makataimeshekiakiak o Miami o Mississippian culture o Northwest Territory o Potawatomi o Route 66 o Sauk

People: Illinoisans o Governors of Illinois o Mayors of Chicago o Longest Serving Mayor in Illinois o Order of Lincoln Laureates

Sports: Chicago Bandits o Chicago Bears o Chicago Bulls o Chicago Cubs o Chicago Fire o Chicago Rush o Chicago Sky o Chicago White Sox o Chicago Wolves o The Fighting Illini o Illinois State Redbirds o Northwestern Wildcats o Peoria Rivermen o Rockford IceHogs o Rockford Thunder o Southern Illinois Miners o Southern Illinois University Salukis o Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac o Chicago Marathon

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