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Garden of the Gods Wilderness, Southern Illinois
Garden of the Gods Wilderness, in Shawnee National Forrest, Illinois.
Image: Daniel Schwen

___ Reference Maps of Illinois (IL)

About Illinois

Illinois Flag
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Location map of Illinois state USA
Where in the United States is Illinois? Location map of Illinois in the US.

Illinois is a landlocked state in the east north central US, the region is also known as the Midwestern United States.

Illinois is bordered by Wisconsin to the north, Michigan via a water boundary in Lake Michigan to north east; Indiana to the east; Kentucky to south east, the Mississippi River forms a natural border with Missouri and Iowa to the west. The states nickname is "The Prairie State".

Native American tribes lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
The region now known as Illinois was colonized by the French in the 1600s and was ceded to Britain in 1763, it was acquired by the US in 1783. Illinois entered the Union on 3rd December 1818 as the 21st state.

Topographic Map of Illinois
Topographic Map of Illinois showing the location of major metropolitan areas: Chicagoland, Greater St. Louis and the Quad Cities. The state's major rivers: the Ohio, the Mississippi, the Wabash, the Kaskaskia, and the Illinois rivers. In the flat landscape of Illinois, the highest point is the banana shaped Charles Mound at 376 m (1,235 ft).

Illinois covers an area of 149,998 km² (57,914 sq mi) [1], it ranks 25th in size of the 50 states, compared Illinois is approximately half the size of Italy. Compared with other US states, Illinois would fit three times into California.

Main feature of Illinois' landscape are the fertile plains of the Central Lowland, which make up approximately 80% of the state, it is a portion of the Interior Lowlands, a sub region of the Interior Plains, the largest physiographic area in the continuous United States was created by glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Within the Central Lowland lies the Illinois Basin with its sources of coal, petroleum, and other minerals.

Situated in the north west corner of the state is Illinois' portion of the Driftless Area, an area of rugged terrain that was not glaciated in the Ice Age. Within the Driftless Area is the state's highest natural elevation Charles Mound at 376 m (1,235 ft), located at the border to Wisconsin.
In the south of Illinois is the picturesque landscape of the Shawnee Hills. The Shawnee National Forest and the Ohio River Valley have become a major tourist destination.

Major rivers in Illinois are the Mississippi River which defines the state's border with Missouri and Iowa; the Illinois River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River; the Ohio River, the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River.
The Wabash River forms a section of the Illinois-Indiana border before draining into the Ohio River. The Kaskaskia River, a tributary of the Mississippi River, is second largest river system within Illinois. The Rock River, a tributary of the Mississippi River originates in Wisconsin and empties into the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois in the north west of the state.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge and LaSalle Rail Bridge over the Illinois River
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge and LaSalle Rail Bridge over the Illinois River.
Image: Joseph Norton and Ronald Frazier

Major lakes in Illinois are beside Lake Michigan, the Rend Lake, a 21 km (13 mi) long, 4.8 km (3 mi) wide reservoir at the Big Muddy River in southern Illinois.
Lake Shelbyville is a reservoir at the Kaskaskia River.
Crab Orchard Lake, a reservoir in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Kinkaid Lake is a reservoir and a popular tourist attraction in summer.
Clinton Lake, a reservoir, is a part of the Clinton Lake State Recreation Area. Clinton Lake was built in the 1970s as a cooling source for Clinton Nuclear Generating Station. Catfish fishing and other water sport activities are the main attractions at this site.

World Heritage Site
The Cahokia complex with a central ceremonial precinct The Cahokia Mounds complex (ca AD 1200) covered an area of more than 20 km² (8 sq mi).
Image: William R. Iseminger

Illinois has since 1982 one UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is the archaeological remains of a pre-Columbian urban settlement of a mound-building Native American civilization. The urban center was located at the Mississippi River in southern Illinois between East St. Louis and Collinsville, across the river from modern St. Louis, Missouri.

The city's original name is unknown. Today the site is known as Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site UNESCO official website, it was the central section of a large ancient cultural and urban complex which existed from c. 600 to 1400 CE. It is assumed that the site was a political and religious center that attracted a variety of different Native American people from the plains.
In its heyday (between AD 1050 and 1100) Cahokia was the largest pre-Columbian urban center north of Mesoamerica with a population of more than 10,000 people, that number doesn't include the large population inhabiting outlying farmsteads and villages throughout the surrounding floodplain.

The huge settlement was located in a strategic position near the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers, the city featured platforms, ridgetops, and conical mounds; residential, and public areas; a large sundial and a (now reconstructed) palisade/stockade surrounding the central ceremonial precinct.
The pyramid like mounds or terraces were constructed almost entirely of many layers of soil and clay. For ascending the sanctuaries they featured ramps with log stairs.
Dominating the complex is Cahokia’s largest mound now known as the Monks Mound, it is the largest Pre-Columbian earthwork in the Americas and the largest 'pyramid' north of Mesoamerica.

Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois
Rendered image of Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. The Renaissance Revival style capitol is the seat of the government of Illinois.
Image: Google

Illinois has a population of 12.8 million people (est. 2018) [2], capital city is Springfield, primate city is Chicago, largest metro area is Chicago metropolitan area (Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, aka Chicagoland). Other metropolitan areas are the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area and Greater St. Louis (Metro East).
Major cities of Illinois (with more than 100,000 inhabitants) are Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Peoria, and Elgin.

The two busiest airports in the state are Chicago O'Hare International Airport (IATA code: ORD), and Chicago Midway International Airport (IATA code: MDW).

Cities and Towns in Illinois

The map shows the location of following cities and towns in Illinois:

Chicago skyscrapers seen from John Hancock Center
View of Chicago's skyscrapers from John Hancock Center looking south.
Image: Allen McGregor

Largest cities in Illinois with a population of more than 100,000:
Chicago (2.7 million), Aurora (201,000), Rockford (148,000), Joliet (148,000), Naperville (147,000), Springfield (116,000), Peoria (114,000), and Elgin (112,000).
(Population figures 2016)

Other cities and towns:
Alton, Arlington Heights, Beardstown, Belleville, Bloomington, Cairo, Canton, Carbondale, Carmi, Centralia, Champaign, Charleston, Chicago Heights, Danville, De Kalb, Decatur, Dixon, East St Louis, Effingham, Evanston, Freeport, Galesburg, Granite City, Harrisburg, Havana, Jacksonville, Jerseyville, Kankakee, Kewanee, La Salle, Lincoln, Macomb, Marion, Mattoon, Moline, Monmouth, Mount Vernon, Normal, North Chicago, Olney, Ottawa, Palatine, Pana, Pekin, Peru, Pittsfield, Pontiac, Quincy, Rantoul, Rock Island, Salem, Skokie, Sterling, Streator, Urbana, Vandalia, Waukegan, and West Frankfort.

The detailed map below is showing the US state of Illinois with boundaries, the location of the state capital Springfield, major cities and populated places, streams and lakes, interstate highways, principal highways, and railroads.

You are free to use this map for educational purposes (fair use), please refer to the Nations Online Project.

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Reference Map of Illinois
Reference Map of Illinois State

Map is based on a state map of The National Atlas of the USA.
Map of the USA Map of Iowa Map of Michigan Map of Indiana Map of Missouri Map of Kentucky Map of Wisconsin
More about Illinois and the United States:

Cities -- Information about, and searchable maps of:
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The City of Chicago

U.S. States:
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Maps of the 50 U.S. States
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Population of the 50 U.S. States

Map of the USA
Reference Map of Mainland USA.
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United States Country Profile

Political Map of North America
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