The Foundation for Illinois Colonial and American Studies (FICAS) was established in 2019 to preserve and express the legacy of the Indigenous, French, and Early American communities of the “Illinois Country” as they were during colonial and frontier periods of transition and settlement between circa 1650 and 1850.
A 501(c)3 organization, FICAS conducts both archival and archaeological research, produces a publication series, provides online access to historical records, and maintains a research library, laboratory, and curatorial facility in Springfield, Illinois.
Land, Territory, Colony, State, Nation, Home.
Most Americans are aware of this country’s British colonial past, or of the history of the Spanish in the American Southwest. However, the fact that Illinois was once the heart of a French colony still comes as a surprise to many today.
And while most of us are generally aware of the Native American precursors to many of our modern communities, the Indigenous history of the Midwest is remarkably deep and diverse.
Here in Illinois, waves of both Indigenous and European immigration during the 1600s and 1700s suddenly created new hybrid communities on lands that had been populated by uncounted societies for 10,000 years.
By the time of the American Civil War, so much of the rich, multicultural landscape of the “Illinois Country” was lost or forgotten, and the world we recognize as modern had arrived.