Illinois Country

Illinois Country

Overview
{{distinguish|Illinois County}} {{Use mdy dates|date=January 2011}} [[Image:Wpdms illinois country settlements 1763.png|300px|right|thumb|French settlements and forts in the Illinois Country in 1763, showing U.S. current state boundaries.]] The '''Illinois Country''' ({{lang-fr|'''Pays des Illinois'''}}), also known as '''Upper Louisiana''', was a region in what is now the [[Midwestern United States]] that was explored and settled by the [[France|French]] during the 17th and 18th centuries.
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{{distinguish|Illinois County}} {{Use mdy dates|date=January 2011}} [[Image:Wpdms illinois country settlements 1763.png|300px|right|thumb|French settlements and forts in the Illinois Country in 1763, showing U.S. current state boundaries.]] The '''Illinois Country''' ({{lang-fr|'''Pays des Illinois'''}}), also known as '''Upper Louisiana''', was a region in what is now the [[Midwestern United States]] that was explored and settled by the [[France|French]] during the 17th and 18th centuries. The terms referred to the entire [[Upper Mississippi River]] watershed, though settlement was concentrated in what are now the U.S. states of [[Illinois]], [[Missouri]], and [[Indiana]]. First explored in 1673 by the expedition of [[Louis Joliet]] and [[Jacques Marquette]], the area was soon claimed by France and became part of [[Louisiana (New France)|Louisiana]], together with [[Lower Louisiana]]. Whereas the term "Upper Louisiana" referred to the entire Upper Mississippi area claimed by France, through the 18th century "Illinois Country" primarily referred to the concentrated settlement area. By the mid-18th century, the major settlements included [[Cahokia, Illinois|Cahokia]], [[Kaskaskia, Illinois|Kaskaskia]], [[Fort de Chartres|Chartres]], [[Saint Philippe, Illinois|Saint Philippe]], and [[Prairie du Rocher, Illinois|Prairie du Rocher]], all on the east side of the Mississippi in present-day Illinois; and [[Ste. Genevieve, Missouri|Ste. Genevieve]] across the river in Missouri. The region was initially governed from [[Canada (New France)|Canada]], but by the 1720s a local governmental infrastructure was in place, in which the local towns reported to the commandant of Fort de Chartres, who in turn reported to the governor general of Louisiana in [[New Orleans, Louisiana|New Orleans]]. Upper and Lower Louisiana east of the Mississippi River were ceded to the British in 1763, and the west to the Spanish, after the [[French and Indian War]]. Some French settlers remained in the area, while others crossed the Mississippi, forming new settlements such as [[St. Louis, Missouri|St. Louis]]. Both regions eventually came under the control of the [[United States]]. 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 [[archeological]] resources were lost to flooding and destruction of early French colonial villages originally located near the river, such as [[Kaskaskia, Illinois|Kaskaskia]], [[St. Philippe, Illinois|St. Philippe]], and [[Cahokia, Illinois]], and old [[Ste. Genevieve, Missouri]]. ==Location== The region never had clearly defined boundaries. Earlier descriptions tended to be more expansive. The largest scope described it as extending east to the [[Allegheny Mountains]], west to the [[Rocky Mountains]], north up to [[Peoria, Illinois|Peoria]] and south to the [[Arkansas Post]], where the [[Arkansas River]] flowed into the [[Mississippi River]]. By another description, it extended from lakes [[Lake Michigan|Michigan]] and [[Lake Superior|Superior]] to the [[Ohio River|Ohio]] and [[Missouri River|Missouri]] rivers. A third, from after the British acquired the region, described it as bounded by the Mississippi River on the west, the [[Illinois River]] on the north, the [[Wabash River]] on the east, and the Ohio River on the south. The region now known as the [[American Bottom]] is nearly at the center of all descriptions of the Illinois Country. ==Exploration and settlement== [[Image:Western New France, 1688.jpg|thumb|250px|Map of Western New France, including the Illinois Country, by [[Vincenzo Coronelli]], 1688]] Initially, the principal [[Europe]]an, non-native inhabitants were [[French people|French]] [[fur traders]] and [[missionaries]], both dealing with Native Americans, particularly the group known as the [[Kaskaskia]]. The French were not very successful in encouraging settlement in the isolated area, despite the importation of women to induce permanent settlement. Some number of French convicts were relocated there and became settlers. There were also some [[Germans|German]] and [[Spanish people|Spanish]] immigrants to the region, creating one of the earliest American [[melting pot]] cultures.{{Citation needed|date=December 2009}} It was originally governed from [[French Canada]], but by order of King Louis XV on September 27, 1717, the Illinois Country was annexed to the French province of [[Louisiana (New France)|Louisiana]], with the northern border being the [[Illinois River]]. In 1721, the seventh civil and military district of Louisiana was named ''Illinois''. It included more than half of the present state, as well as the land between the [[Arkansas River]] and the line of [[43rd parallel north|43 degrees north]] latitude, and the country between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River. In 1723, the region around the [[Wabash River]] was made into a separate district. Around this time, the Illinois Country was sometimes referred to as '''Upper Louisiana''', although this term was also used to describe the land west of the Mississippi River, with '''Illinois Country''' referring to land east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio River.{{Citation needed|date=August 2011}} The distinction became clearer after the [[Treaty of Paris (1763)|Treaty of Paris]] in 1763, when Britain acquired the land east of the Mississippi, and Spain acquired Louisiana and the land west of the Mississippi. Many French settlers moved west across the river to escape British control.{{Citation needed|date=December 2009}} ===Fort de Chartres=== On January 1, 1718, a trade monopoly was granted to [[John Law (economist)|John Law]] and his [[Compagnie de l'Occident|Company of the West]] (which was to become the [[Compagnie Perpetuelle des Indes|Company of the Indies]] in 1719). Hoping to make a fortune mining precious metals in the area, the company with a military contingent sent from New Orleans built a fort to protect its interests. Construction began on the first [[Fort de Chartres]] (in present-day Illinois) in 1718 and was completed in 1720. The original fort was located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, downriver (south) from [[Cahokia]] and upriver of [[Kaskaskia]]. The nearby settlement of [[Prairie du Rocher, Illinois]], was founded by French-Canadian colonists in 1722, a few miles inland from the fort. The fort was to be the seat of government for the Illinois Country and help to control the aggressive [[Fox (Native American)|Fox Indians]]. The fort was named after [[Louis of Bourbon, Duke of Orléans|Louis, duc de Chartres]], son of the regent of France. Because of frequent flooding, another fort was built further inland in 1725. By 1731, the Company of the Indies had gone defunct and turned Louisiana and its government back to the king. The garrison at the fort was removed to [[Kaskaskia, Illinois]] in 1747, about 18 miles to the south. A new stone fort was planned near the old fort and was described as "nearly complete" in 1754, although construction continued until 1760. The new stone fort was headquarters for the French Illinois Country for less than 20 years, as it was turned over to the [[United Kingdom|British]] in 1763 with the [[Treaty of Paris (1763)|Treaty of Paris]] at the end of the [[French and Indian War]]. The British Crown declared almost all the land between the [[Appalachian Mountains]] and the Mississippi River from Florida to [[Newfoundland (island)|Newfoundland]] a Native American territory called the [[Indian Reserve (1763)|Indian Reserve]] following the [[Royal Proclamation of 1763]]. The government ordered settlers to leave or get a special license to remain. This was to cause many of the French settlers to move to St. Louis, but they also wanted to be ruled by a Catholic government. The British took control of Fort de Chartres on October 10, 1765 and renamed it [[Fort Cavendish]]. The British softened the initial expulsion order and offered the French inhabitants the same rights and privileges enjoyed under French rule. In September 1768, the British established a Court of Justice, the first court of [[common law]] in the Mississippi Valley (the French law system is called [[Civil law (legal system)|civil law]]). After severe flooding in 1772, the British saw little value in maintaining the fort and abandoned it. They moved the military garrison to the fort at Kaskaskia and renamed it [[Fort Gage]]. ===Other settlements=== *[[Peoria, Illinois|Peoria]] was at first the southermost part of [[New France]], then the northernmost part of the French Colony of [[Louisiana (New France)|Louisiana]], and finally the westernmost part of the newly formed [[United States]]. [[France|French]] interests dominated at Peoria for well over a hundred years, from the time the first French explorers came up the Illinois River in 1673 until the first United States settlers began to move into the area around 1815. A small French presence persisted for a time on the east bank of the river, but was gone by about 1846. Today, only faint echoes of French Peoria survive in the street plan of downtown Peoria, and in the name of an occasional street, school, or hotel meeting room: ''Joliet'', ''Marquette'', ''LaSalle''. *In 1675, [[Jacques Marquette]] founded a mission at the '''Great Village''' of the [[Illinois tribe]], near present [[Utica, Illinois]], which was destroyed by [[Iroquois]] in 1680. *[[Fort Vincennes]], later known as ''St. Vinennes'' and eventually [[Vincennes, Indiana]], was established in 1732. The British renamed it [[Fort Sackville]] after their capture in the [[French and Indian War]] (also known as the [[Seven Years War]].) George Rogers Clark renamed it Fort [[Patrick Henry]], for the Governor of Virginia, when he took it in the [[American Revolution]]. Although part of the original expansive Illinois Country, as part of the Northwest Territory, it became the seat of a separate county. *[[Cahokia, Illinois|Cahokia]], established in 1699 by French missionaries from [[Quebec]], was one of the earliest permanent settlements in the region. It became one of the most populous of the northern towns. In 1787, it was made the seat of St. Clair County in the [[Northwest Territory]]. In 1801, [[William Henry Harrison]], then governor of [[Indiana Territory]], enlarged St. Clair County to administer a vast area extending to the Canadian border. By 1814, the county had been reduced to almost the size of the present [[St. Clair County, Illinois]]. The county seat was shifted from Cahokia to [[Belleville, Illinois|Belleville]]. On April 20, 1769, the great Indian leader [[Chief Pontiac]] was murdered in Cahokia by a chief of the [[Peoria tribe|Peoria]]. *[[Kaskaskia, Illinois|Kaskaskia]], established in 1703, was at first a tiny mission station. It later flourished to become capital of the [[Illinois Territory]], 1809–1818, and the first capital of the state of Illinois, 1818-1820. The French built a fort here in 1721, which was destroyed in 1763 by the British. (The fort was situated above what was then the lower course of the [[Kaskaskia River]], but became the new channel of the Mississippi in 1881.) During the [[American Revolution]], General [[George Rogers Clark]] took possession of the village in 1778. The residents rang the church bell in celebration, and it became known as the "liberty bell". (It had been sent in 1741 by King [[Louis XV]].) Flooding and a lateral shift of the river channel in 1881 cut off the old settlement from the mainland of Illinois and destroyed some of the village and its archaeology. Much of the village cemetery was transferred to the higher ground of [[Fort Kaskaskia State Park]] across the river. Today visitors can reach the remnants of Kaskaskia only by a bridge and road from the Missouri side. In the [[Great Flood of 1993]], the Mississippi submerged all but a few rooftops and the steeple of the [[Catholic]] Church of the [[Immaculate Conception]], built in 1843 and moved brick by brick to the new location on Kaskaskia Island about 1893. *In 1720, [[Philip Francois Renault]], the Director of Mining Operations for the Company of the West, arrived with about 200 laborers and mechanics and 500 African [[slavery|slaves]] from [[Santo Domingo]] to work [[Old Mines, Missouri|the mines]]. However, the mines yielded only unprofitable [[coal]] and [[lead]], providing insufficient revenues for the Company of the West to survive. In 1723, Renault, with his workers and slaves, established the village '''St. Philippe''' (on the [[American Bottom|Bottoms]] down from the present-day unincorporated community of [[Renault, Illinois]] in [[Monroe County, Illinois]].) It was about 3 miles north of Fort de Chartres. This is the first record of [[African]] slaves in the region. Some of the French farmers also used slaves for labor, but most families held only a few, if any. The village quickly produced an agricultural surplus, with its goods sold to lower Louisiana, as well as to settlements less successful than those in the Illinois Country, such as Arkansas Post. *The original [[Ste. Genevieve, MO|Ste. Genevieve]] was established around 1750 along the western banks of the [[Mississippi River]]. The village consisted mostly farmers and merchants of [[French-Canadian]] descent from the settlements on the east side. Despite flooding, the town remained in that location until the great flood of 1785 destroyed much property. The villagers decided to move the entire village to higher ground about two miles north and half a mile back from the river floodplain. The city has retained the most buildings of [[French Colonial]] architecture in the US. *The French built [[Fort Massac]] in 1757 near the present [[Metropolis, Illinois]]. *They established [[Fort Orleans]] in 1723 along the [[Missouri River]] near [[Brunswick, Missouri]]. ==Post-colonial period== During the Revolutionary War, General [[George Rogers Clark]] took possession of the entire Illinois Country for [[Virginia]]. In November 1778, the Virginia legislature created the [[Illinois County, Virginia|county of Illinois]] comprising all of the lands lying west of the [[Ohio River]] to which Virginia had any claim, with Kaskaskia as the county seat. Captain [[John Todd (Virginia)|John Todd]] was named as governor. However, this government was limited to the former French settlements and was rather ineffective. For their assistance to General Clark in the war, French and Indian residents of Illinois Country were given full citizenship. Under the [[Northwest Ordinance]] and many subsequent treaties and acts of Congress, the French and Indian residents of Vincennes and Kaskaskia were granted specific exemptions, as they had declared themselves citizens of Virginia. The term ''Illinois Country'' was sometimes used in legislation to refer to these settlements. Much of the Illinois Country region became an [[organized territory]] of the United States with the establishment of the [[Northwest Territory]] in 1787. During the 19th century, steamboat travel flourished on the Mississippi River, which was good for the economy of St. Louis and other towns, but it led to deforestation along the river. Adverse environmental effects resulted, including more severe flooding as the river became broader and more shallow, lateral changes in the channel, instability of banks, and loss of towns due to flooding or channel changes. Much of archeological importance was lost in the flooding and destruction of French colonial towns such as [[Kaskaskia, Illinois|Kaskaskia]], [[St. Philippe, Illinois|St. Philippe]], and [[Cahokia, Illinois]]; and [[Old Mines]] and old [[Ste. Genevieve, Missouri]]. ==See also== * [[List of commandants of the Illinois Country]] * [[New France]] * [[Historic regions of the United States]] * [[Ohio Country]] * [[Missouri French]], a dialect of the [[French language]] spoken by 1,000 people in remnants of Old France in [[Missouri]]. ==External links== *[http://HistoricSteGen.org/ Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve, Inc.] Guibourd Historic House & Mecker Research Library *[http://stegenevieve.net/ Ste. Genevieve County Historical and Genealogical Resources] *[http://www.stegenchamber.org/ Sainte Genevieve Chamber of Commerce] *[http://www.mostateparks.com/felixvalle.htm Felix Vallé State Historic Site] Missouri Department of Natural Resources {{coord missing|Illinois}}