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Illinois Salines

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Title: Illinois Salines  
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Subject: Yankeetown Site, Slavery in the United States, Mississippian culture
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Illinois Salines

Saline Springs
Illinois Salines is located in Illinois
Illinois Salines
Nearest city Equality, Illinois
Area 306 acres (124 ha)
Governing body Federal
NRHP Reference # 73000702[1]
Added to NRHP May 24, 1973

The Illinois Salines, also known as the Saline Springs or Great Salt Springs, is a [2][3]


The Illinois Salines were an important source of salt for prehistoric residents of Illinois. The earliest occupation of the site is speculated to have occurred during the [2] An archaeological project led by Southern Illinois University has studied the site since 1981.[4]

Modern history

The southern Illinois salines were the first major industry in the Illinois Territory following European settlement. The salines, where brine was boiled down into salt, were financially successful, and became the property of the State of Illinois upon its statehood in 1818.[2] Although Illinois was legally a free state, an exemption in the Illinois Constitution allowed slavery at the Illinois Salines and other salt springs near Shawneetown; this exception was made because the slave-operated salines contributed one-third of the new state's yearly revenue.[3][5] The law allowed African slaves to be imported to the site until 1825, when the exemption expired. However, indentured servitude at the springs continued past this point. Salt production continued until 1870, when competition from West Virginia salt mines drove the springs out of business.[6]

The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 1973.[1]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Zdzieblowski, Arthur. National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Saline Springs. National Park Service, 1973-02-14.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
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