Peoria is a small city in Illinois with a population of 115,007 in the U.S. census of 2010. However, Peoria has a number of claims to fame.
For example, it was founded in 1691 by the French explorer Henri de Tonti, meaning that it has a real claim to be the first European settlement in Illinois.
Similarly, Peoria was the site of Abraham Lincoln’s eponymous speech in 1854, which was about the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 that allowed the settlers to decide whether they wanted to accept slavery or not.
As far as said individual was concerned, this clause was a repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that prohibited slavery north of the 36°30′ parallel, meaning that he was very much an opponent. Lincoln was still an emerging leader of the newly-formed Republicans, so the speech played a notable role in his eventual rise to the country’s highest office.
Besides this, it is also interesting to note Peoria’s strategic location on the Illinois River. In pre-modern times, waterborne transportation was much more efficient than what people could manage on land. A good location near the water was likely to become a budding trade hub. Such was the case for Peoria, which capitalized upon its advantages to become a well-diversified center of trade and manufacturing.
In fact, the city was both the national and the international headquarters for Caterpillar Inc. until 2018, which was when CAT relocated to Deerfield, IL.