Illinois was recognized as the 21st member of the state of the union in 1818. It was named after a French twist (-ois) on the local native’s word (Illini) for “men” or “warriors.” The capital city is Springfield, located in the west-central part of the state. Due to its location, Illinois plays a critical role in the economic life of the U.S.
The state is placed in the country’s industrial belt and agricultural heart. Chicago is one of the nation’s most prominent cities, creating sharp distinctions between the urban and rural populations. Although the state’s northern portion reaches the Upper Midwest, its southern end has excellent affinities with neighboring Kentucky and Missouri.