French explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette "discovered" the area now known as Illinois in 1673. It was organized as a territory on Feb. 3, 1809, and became the 21st state to enter the union Dec. 3, 1818.
Kaskaskia became its first capital city. Since then, Illinois has had three governmental seats (Kaskaskia, Vandalia and Springfield) and six Capitol buildings. Kaskaskia was the capital until 1820, Vandalia was the capital from 1820 to 1839, and Springfield has been the capital since December 1839.