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The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports 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.
French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored the Illinois River in 1673.
Cahokia, the largest regional chiefdom and urban center of the Pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois.
They built an urban complex of more than 100 platform and burial mounds, a 50 acres (20 ha) plaza larger than 35 football fields, and a woodhenge of sacred cedar, all in a planned design expressing the culture's cosmology.
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.