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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 about 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 River, through the Illinois Waterway. 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.

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Elgin (Illinois) Centennial half dollar obverse.jpg

The Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar was a fifty-cent commemorative coin issued by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1936, part of the wave of commemoratives authorized by Congress and struck that year. Intended to commemorate the centennial of the founding of Elgin, the piece was designed by local sculptor Trygve Rovelstad. The obverse depicts an idealized head of a pioneer man. The reverse shows a grouping of pioneers, and is based upon a sculptural group that Rovelstad hoped to build as a memorial to those who settled Illinois, but which was not erected in his lifetime.

Rovelstad had heard of other efforts to gain authorization for commemorative coins, which were sold by the Mint to a designated group at face value and then retailed to the public at a premium. In 1935, through his congressman, he had legislation introduced into the House of Representatives for a commemorative coin in honor of Elgin's centennial that year. Rovelstad hoped that the proposed coin would both depict and be a source of funds for his memorial to the pioneers. Unlike many commemorative coins of that era, the piece was not bought up by dealers and speculators, but was sold directly to collectors at the issue price. Art historian Cornelius Vermeule considered the Elgin coin among the most outstanding American commemoratives. (Read more...)

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Jean Baptiste Point du Sable

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (before 1750 - August 28, 1818) is regarded as the first permanent resident of what became Chicago, Illinois. Little is known of his life prior to the 1770s. In the early 1780s he worked for the British lieutenant-governor of Michilimackinac on an estate at what is now the city of St. Clair, Michigan, before moving to settle at the mouth of the Chicago River. He is first recorded living in Chicago in early 1790, having apparently become established sometime earlier. He sold his property in Chicago in 1800 and moved to St. Charles, Missouri, where he died on August 28, 1818. Point du Sable has become known as the "Founder of Chicago". In Chicago, a school, museum, harbor, park and bridge have been named, or renamed, in his honor; and the place where he settled at the mouth of the Chicago River in the 1780s is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, now located in Pioneer Court.(Read more...)

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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: 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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