The Grand Village of the Illinois, also called Old Kaskaskia Village, is a site significant for being the best documented historic Native American village in the Illinois River valley. It was a large agricultural and trading village of Native Americans of the Illinois confederacy, located on the north bank of the Illinois River near the present town of Utica, Illinois. French explorers Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette came across it in 1673. The Kaskaskia, a tribe of the Illiniwek people (and later, other Illiniwek tribes) lived in the village. It grew rapidly after a mission and fur trading post were established there in 1675, to a population of about 6,000 people in about 460 houses. Around 1691 the Kaskaskia and other Illiniwek moved further south, abandoning the site due to pressure from an Iroquois invasion from the northeast.
A prominent local landmark, Starved Rock, stands on the south bank of the river directly opposite the Grand Village site. Explorer La Salle founded a fort there to be near this village. Starved Rock is also a National Historic Landmark and is included in Starved Rock State Park.
Old Kaskaskia Village
Old Kaskaskia Village site, seen from the west. In the background left of center is the Sulphur Springs Hotel. The Illinois River is about 1,000 feet (300 m) south (right) of the road at left.
|Nearest city||Ottawa, Illinois|
|NRHP reference #||66000324|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NHL||July 19, 1964|
Archeological evidence indicates that the Illini of the Grand Village were well adapted to their environment. They grew corn, beans, and squash in the rich alluvial soil. In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet visited the village, which at that time contained approximately 1,000 people. The French were returning from their expedition to chart the Mississippi River. Although terminally ill, Marquette returned to the Grand Village in early 1675 to celebrate Mass, and founded the mission of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. The French called the village both the Grand Village du Kaskaskia and La Vantum.
Around this time the town grew to perhaps the most populous Native American settlement north of Mexico. According to a theory by historian, Robert Morrissey, the Illinois Confederation Indians were adept at exploiting their location in the ecotone between the forests of the east and the prairies of the west – a controlling point for trade between east and west, as well as, rich with diverse hunting, farming, and resource habitats.
The Native Americans of the Eastern Woodland culture were severely affected by epidemic infectious diseases brought to North America from Europe, as they had no natural immunity. In addition, the introduction of guns increased the fatalities in intertribal conflicts. The fur trade became a source of competition and conflict between tribes. Members of the Illini Confederacy appear to have responded to increasing pressures by banding together. Reports from La Salle and others in the 1680s indicate that the Grand Village of the Illini temporarily increased in size during that decade to 400 cabins housing as many as 6,000 people. This village proved to be unsustainable in size. La Salle and Henri de Tonti also established Fort Saint Louis on the butte now called Starved Rock across the river, where a village near the rock's base called Hotel Plaza developed.
The inhabitants of the Grand Village largely dispersed under pressure from invading Iroquois bands (see, Beaver Wars). Many likely moved to the regions around Peoria (see, Fort Pimiteoui), Cahokia, and Kaskaskia, Illinois. These three towns were named after constituent tribes of the Illinois Confederacy.
Later English speaking European pioneers did not have a clear idea what had happened to the people of the Grand Village. After the villagers dispersed, a tale was repeated in local folklore that members of the Illini Confederacy had been pinned by tribal enemies to a last stand atop Starved Rock. Hopelessly surrounded, the brave villagers refused to surrender and supposedly perished of starvation. It was said that this was how "Starved Rock" got its name.
In one tale, attributed to the French and Indians, the explorer Henri de Tonti cached a hoard of gold on or near the canyons and bluffs of Starved Rock to secrete it from a French Canadian governor who had dismissed him. Later in 1704 when he was dying of yellow fever, Tonti described the treasure's location to the priest who was giving him last rites. As the story goes, the priest mentioned this revelation to third parties, but did not describe the secret location, and this key piece of information was lost when the priest died in an Illinois River canoe accident.
Another narrative centers on the death, in 1769, of Pontiac at the hands of an unnamed member of the Illini Confederacy. According to this story, the Pottawatomi, who were closely allied to Pontiac's kinfolk, made war on the Illini, forcing many of them to take refuge on the bluff that would become known as "Starved Rock." The Illini supposedly starved as their blufftop refuge was besieged.
The site of the Grand Village of the Illinois was acquired by the state of Illinois in 1991 as a non-operating site of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. As of 2018, it is not open to the public.
The Big Bureau Creek is a 73-mile-long (117 km) tributary of the Illinois River in north central Illinois. It rises approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of Mendota and flows southwest into Bureau County, turning south at Princeton and then flowing east into the Illinois River floodplain. Among the creek's more notable features is the Red Covered Bridge, built in 1863, which passes over Big Bureau Creek and was once part of the Peoria Galena Trail. The bridge, located just north of Interstate 80, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.History of Chicago
The history of Chicago, Illinois, has played a central role in American economic, cultural and political history and since the 1850s the city has been one of the most dominant Midwest metropolises. The area's recorded history begins with the arrival of French explorers, missionaries and fur traders in the late 17th century and their interaction with the local Pottawatomie Native Americans. There were small settlements and a U.S. Army fort, but the soldiers and settlers were all driven off in 1812. The modern city was incorporated in 1837 by Northern businessmen and grew rapidly from real estate speculation and the realization that it had a commanding position in the emerging inland transportation network, based on lake traffic and railroads, controlling access from the Great Lakes into the Mississippi River basin.
Despite a fire in 1871 that destroyed the Central Business District, the city grew exponentially, becoming the nation's rail center and the dominant Midwestern center for manufacturing, commerce, finance, higher education, religion, broadcasting, sports, jazz, and high culture. The city was a magnet for European immigrants—at first Germans, Irish and Scandinavians, then from the 1890s to 1914, Jews, Czechs, Poles and Italians. They were all absorbed in the city's powerful ward-based political machines. Many joined militant labor unions, and Chicago became notorious for its violent strikes, and high wages.
Large numbers of African Americans migrated from the South starting in the World War I era as part of the Great Migration. Mexicans started arriving after 1910, and Puerto Ricans after 1945. The Cook County suburbs grew rapidly after 1945, but the Democratic party machine kept both the city and suburbs under control, especially under mayor Richard J. Daley, who was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Deindustrialization after 1970 closed the stockyards and most of the steel mills and factories, but the city retained its role as a financial and transportation hub. Increasingly it emphasized its service roles in medicine, higher education, and tourism. The city formed the political base for national leaders of the Democratic Party, especially Stephen A. Douglas in the 1850s, Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s, and Barack Obama in recent years.Illinois
Illinois ( (listen) IL-ih-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP),
the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.
The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is located in the central part of the state. Although today's Illinois' largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled the vast Mississippi of the Illinois Country of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of 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 Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, and new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in the state, including Chicago, who founded the city's famous jazz and blues cultures. Chicago, the center of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, is now recognized as a global alpha-level city.
Three U.S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was born and raised in the state. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954. The state is the site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and the future home of the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.Illinois Confederation
The Illinois Confederation, sometimes referred to as the Illiniwek or Illini, was a group of 12–13 Native American tribes in the upper Mississippi River valley of North America. The tribes were the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Peoria, Tamaroa, Moingwena, Michigamea, Chepoussa, Chinkoa, Coiracoentanon, Espeminkia, Maroa, and Tapouara. At the time of European contact in the 17th century, they were believed to number over 10,000 people. Most of the Illinois spoke various dialects of the Miami-Illinois language, one of the Algonquian languages family, with the known exception of the Siouan-speaking Michigamea. They occupied a broad inverted triangle from modern-day Iowa to near the shores of Lake Michigan in modern Chicago south to modern Arkansas. By the mid-18th century, only five principal tribes remained: the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Peoria, and Tamaroa.Illinois Country
The Illinois Country (French: Pays des Illinois, lit. "land of the Illinois (plural)", i.e. the Illinois people) — sometimes referred to as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane; Spanish: Alta Luisiana) — was a vast region of New France in what is now the Midwestern United States. While these names generally referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, French colonial settlement was concentrated along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in what is now the U.S. states of Illinois and Missouri, with outposts in Indiana. Explored in 1673 from Green Bay to the Arkansas River by the Canadien expedition of Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, the area was claimed by France. It was settled primarily from the Pays d'en Haut in the context of the fur trade. Over time, the fur trade took some French to the far reaches of the Rocky Mountains, especially along the branches of the broad Missouri River valley. The French name, Pays des Illinois, means "Land of the Illinois [plural]" and is a reference to the Illinois Confederation, a group of related Algonquian native peoples.
Up until 1717, the Illinois Country was governed by the French province of Canada, but by order of King Louis XV, the Illinois Country was annexed to the French province of Louisiana, with the northeastern administrative border being somewhat vaguely on or near the upper Illinois River. The territory thus became known as "Upper Louisiana." By the mid-18th century, the major settlements included Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Chartres, Saint Philippe, and Prairie du Rocher, all on the east side of the Mississippi in present-day Illinois; and Ste. Genevieve across the river in Missouri, as well as Fort Vincennes in what is now Indiana.As a consequence of the French defeat in the Seven Years' War, the Illinois Country east of the Mississippi River was ceded to the British, and the land west of the river to the Spanish. Following the British occupation of the left bank (when heading downstream) of the Mississippi in 1764, some Canadien settlers remained in the area, while others crossed the river, forming new settlements such as St. Louis.
Eventually, the eastern part of the Illinois Country became part of the British Province of Quebec, while the inhabitants chose to side with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Although the lands west of the Mississippi were sold in 1803 to the United States by France—which had reclaimed possession of Luisiana from the Spanish in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso—French language and culture continued to exist in the area, with the Missouri French dialect still being spoken into the 20th century.Because of the deforestation that resulted from the cutting of much wood for fuel during the 19th-century age of steamboats, the Mississippi River became more shallow and broad, with more severe flooding and lateral changes in its channel in the stretch from St. Louis to the confluence with the Ohio River. As a consequence, many architectural and archaeological resources were lost to flooding and destruction of early French colonial villages originally located near the river, including Kaskaskia, St. Philippe, Cahokia, and Ste. Genevieve.Illinois Historic Preservation Division
The Illinois Historic Preservation Division, formerly Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is a governmental agency of the U.S. state of Illinois, and is a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It is tasked with the duty of maintaining State-owned historic sites, and maximizing their educational and recreational value to visitors or on-line users. In addition, it manages the process for applications within the state for additions to the National Register of Historic Places.Illinois River
The Illinois River (Miami-Illinois language: Inoka Siipiiwi) is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 273 miles (439 km) long, in the U.S. state of Illinois. The river drains a large section of central Illinois, with a drainage basin of 28,756.6 square miles (74,479 km2). The drainage basin extends into Wisconsin, Indiana, and a very small area of southwestern Michigan. This river was important among Native Americans and early French traders as the principal water route connecting the Great Lakes with the Mississippi. The French colonial settlements along the rivers formed the heart of the area known as the Illinois Country. After the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Hennepin Canal in the 19th century, the role of the river as link between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi was extended into the era of modern industrial shipping. It now forms the basis for the Illinois Waterway.Indian Reserve (1763)
The Indian Reserve is a historical term for the largely uncolonized area in North America acquired by Great Britain from France through the Treaty of Paris (1763) at the end of the Seven Years' War (known as the French and Indian War in the North American theatre), and set aside in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 for use by Native Americans, who already inhabited it. The British government had contemplated establishing an Indian barrier state in the portion of the reserve west of the Appalachian Mountains, and bounded by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the Great Lakes. British officials aspired to establish such a state even after the region was assigned to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783) ending the American Revolutionary War, but abandoned their efforts in 1814 after losing military control of the region during the War of 1812.In present-day United States, it consisted of all the territory north of Florida and New Orleans that was east of the Mississippi River and west of the Eastern Continental Divide in the Appalachian Mountains that formerly comprised the eastern half of Louisiana (New France). In modern Canada, it consisted of all the land immediately north of the Great Lakes but south of Rupert's Land belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, as well as a buffer between the Province of Canada and Rupert's Land stretching from Lake Nipissing to Newfoundland.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 organized on paper much of the new territorial gains in three colonies in North America—East Florida, West Florida, and Quebec. The rest of the expanded British territory was left to Native Americans. The delineation of the Eastern Divide, following the Allegheny Ridge of the Appalachians, confirmed the limit to British settlement established at the 1758 Treaty of Easton, before Pontiac's War. Additionally, all European settlers in the territory (who were mostly French) were supposed to leave the territory or get official permission to stay. Many of the settlers moved to New Orleans and the French land on the west side of the Mississippi (particularly St. Louis), which in turn had been ceded secretly to Spain to become Louisiana (New Spain). However, many of the settlers remained and the British did not actively attempt to evict them.In 1768, lands west of the Alleghenies and south of the Ohio were ceded to the colonies by the Cherokee at the Treaty of Hard Labour and by the Six Nations at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. However, several other aboriginal nations, particularly Shawnee and Mingo, continued to inhabit and claim their lands that had been sold to the British by other tribes. This conflict led to Dunmore's War in 1774, ended by the Treaty of Camp Charlotte where these nations agreed to accept the Ohio River as the new boundary.
Restrictions on settlement were to become a flash point in the American Revolutionary War, following the Henderson Purchase of much of Kentucky from the Cherokee in 1775. The renegade Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe did not agree to the sale, nor did the Royal Government in London, which forbade settlement in this region. As an act of revolution in defiance of the crown, white pioneer settlers began pouring into Kentucky in 1776, opposed by Dragging Canoe in the Cherokee–American wars, which continued until 1794.Jacques Marquette
Father Jacques Marquette S.J. (June 1, 1637 – May 18, 1675), sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley.Kaskaskia
The Kaskaskia were one of the indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands. They were one of about a dozen cognate tribes that made up the Illiniwek Confederation, also called the Illinois Confederation. Their longstanding homeland was in the Great Lakes region. Their first contact with Europeans reportedly occurred near present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1667 at a Jesuit mission station.Kolmer Site
The Kolmer Site is an archaeological site in the far southwest of the U.S. state of Illinois. Located near Kaskaskia and Prairie du Rocher in western Randolph County, it lies at the site of an early historic Indian village from the French period. Because it occupies a critical chronological and cultural position, it has been given national recognition as a historic site.Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana (French: La Louisiane; La Louisiane française) or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control 1682 to 1762 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was named in honor of King Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. It originally covered an expansive territory that included most of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.
Louisiana included two regions, now known as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane), which began north of the Arkansas River, and Lower Louisiana (French: la Basse-Louisiane). The U.S. state of Louisiana is named for the historical region, although it is only a small part of the vast lands claimed by France.French exploration of the area began during the reign of Louis XIV, but French Louisiana was not greatly developed, due to a lack of human and financial resources. As a result of its defeat in the Seven Years' War, France was forced to cede the east part of the territory in 1763 to the victorious British, and the west part to Spain as compensation for Spain losing Florida. France regained sovereignty of the western territory in the secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800. But strained by obligations in Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, ending France's presence in Louisiana.
The United States ceded part of the Louisiana Purchase to the United Kingdom in the Treaty of 1818. This section lies above the 49th parallel north in a part of present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan.Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Illinois, characterized by the many canyons within its 2,630 acres (1,064 ha). Located just southeast of the village of Utica, in Deer Park Township, LaSalle County, Illinois, along the south bank of the Illinois River, the park hosts over two million visitors annually, the most for any Illinois state park.Before European contact, the area was home to Native Americans, particularly the Kaskaskia who lived in the Grand Village of the Illinois across the river. Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette were the first Europeans recorded as exploring the region, and by 1683, the French had established Fort St. Louis on a large sandstone butte overlooking the river, they called Le Rocher (the Rock). Later after the French had moved on, according to a local legend, a group of Native Americans of the Illinois Confederation (also called Illiniwek or Illini) pursued by the Ottawa and Potawatomi fled to the butte in the late 18th century. In the legend, around 1769 the Ottawa and Potawatomi besieged the butte until all of the Illiniwek had starved, and the butte became known as "Starved Rock". The area around The Rock was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. The park region has been the subject of several archeological studies concerning both native and European settlements, and various other archeological sites associated with the park were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
In the late 19th century, parkland was developed as a vacation resort. The resort was acquired by the State of Illinois in 1911 for a state park, which it remains today. Facilities in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, which have also gained historic designation.
A flood from a melting glacier, approximately 14,000-17,000 years ago led to the topography of the site and its exposed rock canyons. Diverse forest plant life exists in the park and the area supports several wild animal species. Of particular interest has been sport fishing species.
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