NOT a University Shirt. In the 1810s settlers began arriving from Kentucky; Illinois achieved statehood in 1818.Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan. Railroads and John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois' rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. 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. Its manufacturing made the state a major arsenal in both world wars. The Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to Chicago, established a large community that created the city's famous jazz and blues cultures.