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Illinois leaders mark state's 199th birthday; eyes on 200th

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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois leaders celebrated the state's 199th birthday with eyes on its 200th in a year.

Gov. Bruce Rauner participated in events at Chicago's Navy Pier Sunday, the day Illinois became the 21st state 199 years ago. Other commemorations took place in Springfield.

There will be flag-raising ceremonies at municipalities across Illinois on Monday to mark the beginning of the state's bicentennial year.

Illinois' recorded history began in 1673 when missionary Jacques Marquette and fur trader Louis Jolliet became the first Europeans to explore it. President James Monroe's signature made it a state on Dec. 3, 1818.

State Rep. Tim Butler is a Springfield Republican and member of the Bicentennial Commission. He has said the bicentennial offers an opportunity for Illinoisans to "foster a renewed pride in our state."

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