In 1673 the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet became the first Europeans to visit the land that came to be called the Illinois Country. In the succeeding century Europeans and Native Americans lived together there in a state of uneasy coexistence. The Illinois Country became a part of the United States' Northwest Territory in 1787, and Native Americans fought a series of bloody wars in an unsuccessful attempt to stem the tide of white settlement. In 1818 Illinois became the twenty-first state, and by 1832 authorities had pushed the last Native Americans beyond its borders. Read more...

Scholars' Videos

Watch interview clips with scholarls.

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Interpretive Essays

Read a series of interpretive essays on the history of early Illinois.

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How To Use This Site

This web site includes a searchable digital library of primary source materials, as well as a set of original, concise interpretive resources designed to help site users to explore and interpret them. Primary materials include texts and images. In the case of period sheet music, the project's developers have taken the liberty of assembling musicians to make latter-day recordings of selected works in order to make them more interesting and accessible to a non-specialist audience.