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After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. After construction of the Erie Canal increased traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan.
John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden.
The current spelling form, Illinois, began to appear in the early 1670s, when French colonists had settled in the western area.
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.
Chicago, the center of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, became a global alpha-level city. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan, Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954.
"Illinois" is the modern spelling for the early French Catholic missionaries and explorers' name for the Illinois Native Americans, a name that was spelled in many different ways in the early records. The name "Illinois" derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa - "he speaks the regular way".
Although today, the state's largest population center is in and around Chicago in the northeastern part of the state, the state's European population grew first in the west, with French who settled along the Mississippi River, and gave the area the name Illinois Country.
The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports around the world 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.
The civilization vanished in the 15th century for unknown reasons, but historians and archeologists have speculated that the people depleted the area of resources.
Many indigenous tribes engaged in constant warfare.