Pre-1673: Various Native American tribes, including the Illiniwek, Miami, and Sauk, inhabit the region now known as Illinois.
1673: French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette navigate the Mississippi River and explore the Illinois River, marking the first recorded European exploration of the area.
1718: The French establish Fort de Chartres as a strategic outpost in present-day Illinois, solidifying their presence in the region.
1763: Under the Treaty of Paris, France cedes Illinois to Great Britain following the conclusion of the French and Indian War.
1783: The Treaty of Paris grants Illinois to the United States, ending British control and making it part of the Northwest Territory.
1809: Illinois Territory is established, separate from the Northwest Territory, with its capital in Kaskaskia.
1818: Illinois becomes the 21st state of the United States on December 3.
Early 19th century: Illinois experiences rapid population growth and becomes a center for agriculture, particularly the production of corn and wheat.
1832: The Black Hawk War takes place in Illinois, as Native American leader Black Hawk and his allies resist forced removal from their ancestral lands.
Mid-19th century: Illinois plays a significant role in the Underground Railroad, providing a network of safe houses and routes for escaped slaves seeking freedom.
Late 19th century: The industrial revolution transforms Illinois, with the growth of manufacturing, mining, and transportation industries. Chicago emerges as a major economic and cultural center.
1871: The Great Chicago Fire ravages the city, leading to the reconstruction and modernization of Chicago's infrastructure.
Early 20th century: Illinois becomes an important hub of the labor movement, with events such as the Haymarket Riot in Chicago influencing workers' rights movements across the country.
Mid-20th century: Illinois contributes significantly to World War II efforts, including manufacturing and providing troops. The state experiences urbanization and suburbanization.
Present: Illinois is known for its diverse economy, including sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, finance, technology, and transportation. The state is home to cultural landmarks, such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Willis Tower.
This timeline provides an overview of the major events in the history of Illinois, from its early European exploration and settlement to its modern-day prominence as a center of industry, culture, and commerce.