Illinois is a U.S. state in the mid-western region of the country, which became the 21st state on December 3, 1818. It encompasses 56,345 square miles (145,934 square kilometers) and its estimated population is 12,901,563 (2008). The state borders Lake Michigan on the northeast, Indiana on the east, Kentucky on the southeast, Missouri and Iowa on the west and Wisconsin on the north. Illinois was named for the Illinois Indians. The state is a major economic and cultural area, containing the third largest city in the country, Chicago, Illinois; its capital is Springfield.
The University of Illinois has two campuses, the main campus in the twin cities Champaign and Urbana, and a second campus is in Chicago. The university was chartered in 1867 as the "Illinois Industrial College". The Illinois State University in Normal was established in 1857.
There is little question that Abraham Lincoln is forever associated with Illinois.