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Brief History of the State
The first Europeans to explore what is now Illinois were Frenchmen Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, who reached the area in 1673. The area was controlled by the French until 1763, and was then controlled by the British. In 1778 it came under the control of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Territory of Illinois was created by an act of Congress in 1809. On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state admitted to the union.
For more in-depth history of the state, be sure to visit the The Illinois History Project.
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The 1790 IL Map used in the banner courtesy of Michael L. Hébert, ILGenWeb Cumberland County Coordinator.