Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous,[ and the fourth most densely populated of the 50 United States. It is known as the "Constitution State", the "Nutmeg State", the "Provisions State", and the "Land of Steady Habits". It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States. Much of southern and western Connecticut (along with the majority of the state's population) is part of the New York metropolitan area; three of Connecticut's eight counties are statistically included in the New York City combined statistical area, which is widely referred to as the Tri-State area. Connecticut's center of population is in Cheshire, New Haven County, which is also located within the Tri-State area.
Although today the state's largest population center is around Chicago in the northeastern part of the state, the state's European population grew first in the west, with French Canadians who settled along the Mississippi River, and gave the area the name Illinois. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. After construction of the Erie Canal increased traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan.John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper. New railroads carried immigrants to new homes, as well as being used to ship commodity crops to Eastern markets. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.