Research Completed by Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library in Alton, Illinois on November 2019
The original inhabitants of the area that is now called Illinois were the Chickasaw, the Dakota Sioux tribe, the Ho-Chunk (also called Winnebago), the Illini, the Miami and the Shawnee.
-1000: Mississippian Culture was established. This was the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in the Midwestern, Eastern and Southeastern United States.
-1673: Jacques Marquette (1673-1675) and Louis Joilet (1645-1700) explored Illinois.
-1680: The Iroquois entered the area now called Illinois and attacked the Illinois Confederacy tribes. Many were killed in the conflict. Rene’ Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687) and Henry de Tonty (1650-1704) built Fort Crevecoeur.
-1699: French priests founded a mission at Cahokia, the oldest permanent white settlement in Illinois, in what is now St. Clair County.
-1703: Kaskaskia was founded by the French as an Indian mission by Jesuit missionaries.
-1712: The First French Fox War (1712-1716) began when the Fox, Kickapoo and Mascouten tribes attacked Fort Pontchartrain.
-1720: Fort de Chartres was founded by settlers from France.
-1728: The Second Fox War (1728-1733) began. The Fox were reduced to 500 by French troops and Indian allies. The Fox tribe joined the Sauk Tribe after defeat.
-1754-1763: The French and Indian War was won by Great Britain against the French. France then ceded the Illinois Country to Great Britain. Kaskaskia became the British seat of government.
-1764: The Ottawa Chief Pontiac (1720-1769) led a rebellion of a number of tribes against the British.
-1778: Illinois became a county of Virginia after Americans captured Kaskaskia.
-1784: Virginia relinquished its claim.
-1787: Congress made Illinois part of the Northwest Territory.
-1791: By a Special Act of Congress, 400 acres of land were granted to each head of a family who had made improvements in Illinois before 1788.
-1795: Indian Tribes ceded land to the U.S.
-1800: The Northwest Territory was divided. The area that is now Illinois became a part of the Indiana Territory.
-1803: The area that is now Illinois became part of the Louisiana Purchase.
-1800s: Conflict erupted between settlers and the Illinois, Iroquois, Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Miami, Shawnee, Sauk and Fox tribes throughout the 1800s.
-1803: Kaskaskia Indians ceded nearly all of their lands to the U.S. government.
-1803-1805: Tribes in the northwest, central, southeast and southwest part of Illinois ceded land to the U.S.
-February 3, 1809: The Illinois Territory was formed when the Indian Territory was divided.
-1812: Fort Dearborn (now Chicago): after settlers killed an Indian holding a truce flag, they were massacred by Potawatomie warriors.
-1813: Peoria War was a battle between the U.S. Army, settlers and the Potawatomi and the Kickapoo tribes in the Peoria area of Illinois. Indian villages were attacked and the tribes left the area.
-1816, 1818, 1819: More tribes ceded land to the U.S. government.
-December 3, 1818: Illinois became a state; the Wisconsin region was transferred to the Michigan Territory.
-1820: The census listed 917 slaves and 457 free African-Americans.
-1825: Opening the Erie Canal hastened European settlement in Illinois. Fifty-three Norwegian families settled in Fox River, by the way of the Erie Canal.
-1827: Battles between the U.S. Army and settlers against the Potawatomi and Kickapoo tribes resumed in the Winnebago War of 1827.
-1829: Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi ceded lands to the U.S.
-1830: The Indian Removal Act passed by U.S. government.
-1832: Black Hawk War: When Chief Black Hawk and some of his people re-crossed the Mississippi River in order to plant corn in the Sauk’s old corn field, settlers killed an Indian holding a truce flag. Sauks led by Chief Black Hawk massacred settlers near Rock River. The Sauk and Fox warriors were defeated and driven from the state. Kickapoo Indians were removed to Kansas.
-1832: The Department of Indian Affairs was established at Mission in LaSalle County.
-1833: Chicago became a town on the former site of Fort Dearborn.
-1836: A second Norwegian settlement was established at Mission in LaSalle County.
-1838-1856: Improvements in transportation hastened immigration to the northern counties:
-The National Road reached Vandalia, now in Fayette County, in 1838.
-The Illinois and Michigan Canal opened in 1848. It ran from Chicago to LaSalle.
-The Illinois Central Railroad was completed in 1856, linking southern Illinois to Chicago.
-1839: Cherokee Indians passed through Illinois on the “Trail of Tears” to Oklahoma.
-1840: The U.S. Census listed 331 slaves and 3,598 free African-Americans in Illinois.
-1839-1846: Latter-day Saints from Missouri and Ohio built the city of Nauvoo before their westward exodus.
-1847: Hollanders arrived from Krabbeden and settled the area now called the city of Roseland on the south side of Chicago.
-1861-1865: About 250,000 Illinois men served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War, although Southern Illinois contained many citizens sympathetic to the South.
-1871: The Great Chicago Fire destroyed much of Chicago’s downtown area and its public records.
-1898: Over 300,000 Illinois men were involved in the Spanish American War.