Illinois is a community in the U.S. Midwest and Great Lakes areas. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the twenty-fifth largest U.S. land area. Illinois was recognized as a whole United States microcosm. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial towns and large agricultural productivity in the north and middle of the state, and natural resources like coal, wood, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major hub for transportation. Chicagoland, the metropolitan area of Chicago, contains more than 65 percent of the population of the state. 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 Port of Chicago ties the state to international ports. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River are part of Illinois ' borders. O'Hare International Airport in Chicago has been ranked as one of the busiest airports in the world for decades. For a long time, Illinois had a reputation as a bellwether in social and cultural terms as well as in politics through the 1980s.
Springfield, located in the central part of the state, is the capital of Illinois. Even though the largest population center in Illinois today is in its northeast, the European population of the state first developed in the west as the French settled lands along the Mississippi River when the area became known as the Illinois Country and was part of New France. In the 1780s, American colonists began arriving from Kentucky via the Ohio River after the American Revolutionary War, and the population grew from south to north. Illinois gained statehood in 1818. 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 part of Lake Michigan following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes. The invention of John Deere's self-scoring steel plow turned the rich prairie of Illinois into one of the most productive and valuable farmland in the world, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation faster and cheaper between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Valley, and new railways carried settlers to new homes in the west of the country, transporting food crops to the east of the nation. The state has become the nation's transportation hub.
By the early 2000s, the economy of Illinois had shifted toward dependence on high-value added services such as financial trading, higher education, law, logistics, and medicine. These services clustered in some cases around institutions that listened back to the earlier economies of Illinois. For example, as an agricultural futures market, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a trading exchange for global derivatives, had begun its existence. Certain important non-manufacturing sectors include the production and distribution of printing, tourism, and oil.Read: Illinois Wikipedia Page