Cairo, Illinois

City: Cairo

County: Alexander

State: Illinois

Lat/Long: 37.0333, -89.1833

Cairo was founded in 1837. The town became fairly prosperous in the 1850s and 1860s due to its location on a peninsula at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, despite the difficulties and dangers posed by habitual flooding and receding shorelines. Later, the Illinois Central Railroad further contributed to its prosperity, all of which made Cairo an important strategic position during the Civil War. Fort Defiance, constructed near the city on the tip of the peninsula, controlled access to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from the south.

John M. Lansden, A History of the City of Cairo, Illinois (Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons, 1910), 39-40, 63-64, 71-77, 128, 134.