Meet the Illinois Fighting Illini

Meet the Illinois Fighting Illini – The Most Overrated Team in AP’s Top 25 Poll

The name “Illinois” is the French version of the Native American name “Illiniwek”, which means “people”. They are an Algonquin nation whose language resembles that of their neighboring Miami, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes. They stated to early French explorers that they were directly descended from the area’s mound-building cultures. In 1780 a chief told George Rogers Clark that his ancestors had built the Great Mound located at Cahokia, and he gave Lewis and Clark an accurate description of the layout and purpose of the site. They were the dominant tribe in the area, and hunted well into western Kentucky, and across Iowa and Missouri (where they occasionally skirmished with Wichita and Pawnee).

When the Beaver Wars began in the 1640s along the western Great Lakes many tribes were forced to move west. By 1655 former lands in southern Wisconsin were occupied by groups of Fox, Kickapoo, Sauk, and Miami; while groups of Shawnee had moved into central Illinois. In that year the Iroquois attacked the Illini and forced them to retreat west across the Mississippi River. They originally comprised twelve distinct sub tribes which shared a common language, culture, and kinship. Although the Confederacy was not as cohesive as the League of the Iroquois, its political unity was enough to dominate the other tribes in the area.

In the late seventeenth century the lifestyle was one of a woodland culture resembling neighboring tribes. Larger villages were focal points for trade and socializing. These villages were located in river valleys because of the rich soil available for agriculture. After the spring planting they often separated to different hunting villages, returning for the harvest in the fall. They were more dependent for food than their neighbor tribes. When the Iroquois made peace with the French in 1667 groups began returning to their former territory as far east as present-day Watseka, but they never were as numerous there as before.

Arch Rivalry Football Game Between Mizzou Tigers and University of Illinois

Tribe men were principally hunters and the women gathered and tended the fields. Apart from this usual division of labor, women in society often became shamans and took on roles of political leadership on a level which paralleled the men. Monogamy was the rule but soral polygamy (a man marrying several sisters) was not unheard of. Although men were not normally punished for adultery, unfaithful women were mutilated or killed. Prior to the 1670’s the traditional enemies were the Sioux (Dakota), Pawnee, Osage, and Winnebago. However by the late seventeenth century the enemies list expanded to include all of the tribes in the region; their only allies were the French.

It was the Native American enemies – not the encroaching white man – who destroyed them as a nation. By the 1690’s refugee tribes which had moved to southern Wisconsin in the 1650’s began expanding into northern Illinois as far as what is now Bourbonnais Illinois, but their numbers declined until in 1803 they placed themselves under American governmental protection and ceded all claims to their original homeland.

The University of Illinois – A Study in Excellence

Illinois had been on a two-game slide before it beat the Penn State Nittany Lions 68-51 on Monday. The Fighting Illini covered as an 8-point home favorite and the score stayed under the total of 130. Mike Davis scored 22 points to lead Illinois. He scored 10 points on dunks, much to the delight of the sparse crowd that turned out despite a bitter winter storm. Davis scored seven straight points midway through the second half to give the Illini a 52-39 lead, and Bill Cole added 10 for the Illini. Northwestern got a big confidence boost in its last game, as it almost knocked off No. 1 Ohio State. The Wildcats lost 58-57 but cashed as a 10-point home underdog.

The Wildcats will be out for revenge in this matchup, as they were embarrassed in a 25-point loss against Illinois in their last meeting on Jan. 6. The Fighting Illini cruised to an 88-63 rout and easily cashed as an 8-point home favorite. The score went over the over/under total of 143. Illinois has absolutely owned the Wildcats straight up in the recent head-to-head series, going 9-1 SU in the past 10. Northwestern has played the Fighting Illini close, though, covering in five of those matchups.

Illinois history begins with the ancient Mississippian culture, whose main urban center was Cahokia, near present day Collinsville IL. This civilization vanished for unknown reasons about 1500 C.E. It was replaced by the Illiniwek Confederation, an alliance of several tribes which gave the state of Illinois its name. During the 1600’s, Iroquois expansion into Illini territory which was caused by the settlement of the eastern U.S. by Europeans forced a competition between tribes in which the Illini were replaced by the Miami, Potawatomi, and Sauk tribes. The first Europeans in the area were Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673, who were French explorers following the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. As a consequence of their explorations, Illinois was annexed to the French empire until it passed to the British in 1763. The region was ceded to the United States in 1783.

Illinois Territory was created in 1809, and a great many forts were constructed at the time of the War of 1812. Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the Union in 1818. Early pioneers assisted living Illinois settlements, which were first established in the south and spread northwards, forcing out the natives. This led to the Black Hawk War of 1832, in which the militia defeated the natives and forced their tribes to move westwards. In 1839 Mormons fleeing persecution in the east established the settlement of Nauvoo on a bend in the Mississippi River. The town quickly expanded to 12,000 residents and was for a time the largest city in the state. However, when church founder Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844, the Mormons left Illinois for Utah which at that time was still Mexican territory. The city of Chicago began to grow after 1848 as a lake and later canal port and it also became a railroad hub after the Civil War. Chicago had become the largest city in the state by 1857.