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With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub.

The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway on the Illinois River.

The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois.

For decades, O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports.

The Illinois's name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms.

American Indians of successive cultures lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.

This was taken into the Ojibwe language, perhaps in the Ottawa dialect, and modified into ilinwe· (pluralized as ilinwe·k).Many indigenous tribes engaged in constant warfare.According to Suzanne Austin Alchon, "At one site in the central Illinois River valley, one-third of all adults died as a result of violent injuries." As the Illini declined during the Beaver Wars era, members of the Algonquian-speaking Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, and other tribes including the Fox (Mesquakie), Ioway, Kickapoo, Mascouten, Piankashaw, Shawnee, Wea, and Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) came into the area from the east and north around the Great Lakes.It is 100 feet (30 m) high, 951 feet (290 m) long, 836 feet (255 m) wide and covers 13.8 acres (5.6 ha).), and been as much as 50 feet (15 m) high, making its peak 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the plaza.The finely crafted ornaments and tools recovered by archaeologists at Cahokia include elaborate ceramics, finely sculptured stonework, carefully embossed and engraved copper and mica sheets, and one funeral blanket for an important chief fashioned from 20,000 shell beads.

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