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The first people to inhabit the land that is now Peoria, Illinois were Native American groups living in structured civilizations. The Illini Indians were an extension of the group known as the Algonquin Nation. But there were many other tribes in the area as well, one known as Peoria. The river valley of Peoria's region provided great land for the tribes. But wars with other groups and the invasion of Europeans, over time forced most of the tribe out of the land, many moved on to neighboring states.
The French were the first to explore this region of Illinois; two explorers Marquette and Jolliet. They developed a fort and small town with a trading post here with a few other important pieces to their social life such as a church and a wine mill.
But with the French losing control to the British, things changed as after awhile the British moved into the area, but many of the French anyway. In 1779, Peoria was officially claimed, but at this time, as La Ville de Maillet after the man who began the settlement.
But the War of 1812 brought major changes. The Americans came in and forced all of the Native Americans and French out and burned Peoria down. The Americans claimed the area for themselves and it was in 1825 that Peoria got its name. In 1845 it became officially incorporated.