is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 116,482 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2006). Over 200,000 residents live in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and adjacent Menard County. Present day Springfield was first settled in the late 1810s, around the time Illinois became a state. One of the city's most important and prominent past residents is Abraham Lincoln, who moved from Indiana to the area in 1831 and lived in Springfield itself from 1837 until 1861. In 1908 a large race riot erupted in the city which culminated with the lynching of two African American residents and led to the founding of the NAACP. The event cast a negative shadow over the town's image.
Common tourist attractions include a multitude of historic sites affiliated with Lincoln, state government sites and various food-related attractions such as the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop and the Cozy Dog Drive In .
The city lies on a mostly flat plain which encompasses much of the surrounding countryside. There is more hilly terrain near the Sangamon River. Lake Springfield, a large man-made lake, owned by a local public utility company, supplies the city with recreation and drinking water. Weather is fairly typical for middle latitude location, hot summers and cold winters. Spring and summer weather is like that of most midwestern cities-severe thunderstorms are common. On March 12, 2006 two tornadoes touched down in the city, and caused extensive damage. The March 12th tornadoes were the first to go through the city since June 14, 1957.
The city is governed by a mayor-council form of government. The city proper is also the "Capital Township" governmental entity. In addition, the government of the state of Illinois is also based in Springfield. State government entities located in the city include the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor of Illinois. There are three public and one private high schools in Springfield. Public schools in Springfield are operated by District No. 186. The economy of Springfield is marked by government jobs, which account for a large percentage of the work force in the city.
Springfield's original name was Calhoun, after Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. The land that Springfield now occupies was originally settled by trappers and traders who came to the Sangamon River in 1818. The settlement's first cabin was built in 1820, by John Kelly, its site is at the northwest corner of Second Street and Jefferson Street. In 1821, Calhoun became the county seat of Sangamon County; due to the fertile soil, and trading opportunities, settlers from Kentucky, Virginia, and as far as North Carolina came to the city. By 1832, Senator Calhoun had fallen out of the favor with the public and the town was renamed Springfield. By 1839, Springfield became the capital for the state of Illinois, moving it from Vandalia. The designation was largely due to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and his associates; nicknamed the "Long Nine" for their combined height of .