The state of Illinois was admitted into the Union on December 3, 1818, making it the 21st state in America. Since its induction, it's been governed from three different capital cities and six capitol buildings.
Founded in 1703 by French Jesuits, the city of Kaskaskia had served as the Territorial Seat since 1809, and after Illinois' induction into the Union, it became the first Capitol. The first capital structure in Kaskaskia was a two-story brick building that housed the 29 legislators of the House of Representatives on the first floor, with the 14 senators meeting in a chamber on the second floor.
The First General Assembly petitioned Congress for land inside the state's interior to serve as the state's new capital and a committee selected a site 80 miles northeast along the Kaskaskia River. Then known as Reeve's Bluff, this site became known as Vandalia and the second Illinois capital in 1820.
Vandalia lasted as the capital for 20 years and during this time the original capital building was destroyed in a fire and many began pushing for the capital to be moved more towards the center of the state.
An act passed in 1833 gave voters the ability to decide on a new location during the next general election. The cities of choice were Vandalia, Peoria, Alton, Jacksonville, Springfield, and the state's geographical center. However, despite Alton actually receiving the most votes, the slim margin was considered inconclusive and the results were never officially announced. This led to the movement being delayed until the next General Assembly of 1836-1837.
It was a young Representative from Sangamon County named Abraham Lincoln who proposed a bill that called for Springfield to be the new capital of Illinois. Despite pushback from Vandalia residents, on February 25, 1837, Springfield was authorized by the Assembly to become the state's new capital. And it is here that it remains today.
The old state capitol building in Springfield was completed in 1853; however, due to an increasing population, a larger building was soon needed. A little over a decade later, the 25th General Assembly passed an act to construct the final capital building in Illinois, which stands now as the final capital.
Today, Springfield is home to both the state government and relics of the state's past. President Lincoln's tomb, the Lincoln Home Historic Site, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which ranks as the most visited state-controlled museum in America.