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The first European settlement in Illinois, Peoria is the site of a French fort built by explorer René Robert Cavalieur Sieur de La Salle in 1680. Even before that, its location in the Illinois River Valley was treasured by the native tribes, who called it "Pimiteoui" (Land of Abundance).
Today it is surrounded by some of the most fertile farmland in the world. At the beginning of the 20th Century it was called "Whiskey Capital of the World" because of the prosperous distilleries attracted by abundant corn and freshwater. It also gave rise to the Caterpillar Corporation, making it the world leader in construction equipment. The expression "Will it play in Peoria?" has made the city famous as a litmus test of American opinion.
Peoria has an impressive skyline with an assortment of classical and modern towers arranged near the Illinois River.