Did You Know? Illinois became the 21st state in the Union on this day in 1818On this day in 1818, Illinois achieved full statehood, becoming the 21st state in the Union. At the time, Illinois was full of vast prairies and contained only around 35,000 people, most of whom lived in Southern Illinois.

Many of the first settlers to Illinois came from Kentucky and Tennessee. Familiar with forested areas, the new settlers did not believe Illinois’ prairies were good for cultivation. The advent of new farming tools encouraged growth to the north, and within just ten years, Illinois’ population would reach more than 150,000.

Illinois would continue attracting settlers for decades to come. As the state’s economy shifted from agrarian to manufacturing in the early 20th century, immigrants from all over the world came to Illinois to work in the ever-expanding manufacturing facilities across the state.

Today, Illinois’ economy continues its transition from traditional manufacturing-based to service-oriented industries. Boasting a population of nearly 13 million residents, Illinois continues to grow and be a worldwide destination for international immigrants and investment.

Learn more:
Illinois becomes the 21st state (The History Channel)