territory remained a French possession until after the French-Indian war when it was ceded
to the British by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. British domination of the area ended in
1778 when George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia and Cahokia (cities on the southwestern
border of Illinois - see
map below) and the land was
claimed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. After the signing of the Articles of
Confederation, Virginia surrendered all claim to the territory to the federal government.
There were many
plans advanced for dealing with the new territories. Thomas Jefferson wanted Illinois
divided into three states with Kane County in the state of Assenisipia. It was decided, however, to give Illinois large
boundaries at the advice of James Monroe who had made several trips to the area and deemed
the entire midwest "worthless and uninhabitable."
Territory was established in 1787 by Congress to provide for government of all land
northwest of the Ohio River. In 1800 Illinois became a part of the Indiana Territory and
in 1809 the Illinois Territory was established by an act of Congress. Finally, in 1818
Illinois was admitted as the 21st state with Kaskaskia as its capital.