is a village in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a population of 16,391. The name is a reference to the Cahokia tribe, a part of the Illini confederacy. Cahokia Mounds, a Native American landmark near Collinsville, Illinois was also named for this tribe which lived in the Illinois area at the time of French contact. Cahokia is the home of the Cahokia Courthouse (c1740) and the Jarrot Mansion (c1810).
Cahokia’s history begins over 300 years ago, starting with Father Pinet’s mission to try and convert the Cahokian and Tamaroa Indians to Christianity in the later part 1696. Father and the Seminary of Foreign Missions of Quebec began with building the log church, which is dedicated to the Holy Family. Following in the next 100 years, Cahokia became one of the largest French colonial towns.
Eventually, Cahokia had become a large area for trading Indian goods and furs. In the city of Cahokia, there were about 3,000 inhabitants, 24 brothels, and a thriving business district. Also in the nearby town of Kaskaskia, it had become the region’s leading shipping port and the Fort de Chartres had become a military and governmental command center. The area of land between the two cities had become a major area for farming settlers, whose main crop was wheat. As the area expanded and expanded, the relationship between the settlers and the Indians continued to be peaceful.
In the following years, Cahokia suffered very much, mainly from the French loss in the French and Indian War in 1763. The French were forced to give large parts of the Illinois County to Great Britain. Many Cahokians fled in fear of the British, some went to areas like St. Genevieve.
The Odawa rebel leader Chief Pontiac was assassinated in Cahokia on April 20, 1769.
In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, George Rogers Clark set up a court in Cahokia, because in earlier years Cahokia was just an independent city state. Cahokia officially became part of the United States on July 5, 1778. Soon after that, the 105 Cahokia "heads of household" pledged loyalty to the Continental Congress of the United States. Later, Cahokia was named the county seat of St. Clair County. The Cahokian Courthouse then acted as a United States territorial courthouse and a major political center for the next 24 years. Then later in 1801 when St. Clair County was enlarged, Henry Harrison named the Cahokia Courthouse the legal and governmental center of a sizeable area extending to the Canadian border. By 1814, though, St. Clair County had decreased to its current size and the county seat was moved to Belleville, Illinois.