What Was Illinois Landscape Before Setlers?


The landscape we envision as pre-settlement Illinois consisted of 38-40% forest (13.8 million acres of forest), 60% prairie, and 1% water. By 1924, forest cover was reduced to a mere 3.0 million acres.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What was Illinois like before European arrival?

Before the Europeans arrived in Illinois the land was inhabited by a number of Native American tribes including the Illini, a confederation of around 12 different tribes. Throughout the 1700s other tribes moved into the area including the Iroquois, the Chippewa, the Potawatomi, and the Miami.

What did Chicago look like before it was settled?

Before Europeans settled here, the sluggish Chicago River was lined with cattails and miles of indistinguishable marsh. Native Americans trolled for wild rice in several areas, including the area near the river's outlet into the Lake.

What was Illinois before it became a state?

Prior to statehood The Illinois Territory was created on February 3, 1809, with its capital at Kaskaskia, an early French settlement. During the discussions leading up to Illinois's admission to the Union, the proposed northern boundary of the state was moved twice.

Where did the first settlers of Illinois come from?

The French were the first Europeans to reach Illinois in about 1673. When they arrived, the Indians welcomed them. It was French explorers who gave Illinois its name by referring to the land where the Illini Indians lived as the Illinois.

Where was the Illinois landcover in the early 1800s created?

The redrafted versions were created in the 1850's at the regional GLO office in St. Louis, Missouri. Cartographers used the original maps in consultation with the field notebooks to create a more complete map of the township. It is these plat maps that the Illinois Natural History Survey used to create our Early 1800's land cover Land Cover map.

Where did the early settlers of Southern Illinois live?

A Short History of Southern Illinois. The earliest European settlers in Southern Illinois concentrated along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash rivers at the southern end of the state. Their settlements became important way stations and supply depots between Canada and ports on the lower Mississippi River.

What did the Paleo Indians do in Illinois?

10,000 BC- 8000 BC -Paleo Indians roam the area, briefly occupying small camps in coniferous forests and subsisting on large game and wild plants. 8000 BC - 500 BC - Archaic period Indians inhabit deciduous forests in small groups, hunt deer and small game, weave baskets, and grind seeds with stones.

What was the southern part of Illinois known for?

As the southern part of the state, known as "Egypt", was largely settled by migrants from the South, the section was hostile to free blacks and allowed settlers to bring slaves with them for labor.

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