The first Europeans to visit Illinois were the French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673, but the region was ceded to Britain after the French and Indian War. After the American Revolution, Illinois became a territory of the United States, and achieved statehood in 1818. Located on Lake Michigan, and connected to the eastern ports via the Erie Canal, Chicago became a booming metropolis, and even the fire of 1871 could not stunt its growth. In the second half of the 19th century the great need for workers in the mills, rail yards and slaughterhouses made Chicago a popular destination for immigrants and freed blacks. During Prohibition Chicago became synonymous with bootleg liquor and gangsters like Al Capone.
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