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Nauvoo

Nauvoo (nôvōˈ) [key], historic city (1990 pop. 1,108), Hancock co., W Ill., on heights overlooking the Mississippi River; inc. 1841. Situated in an agricultural area where fruit, corn, and soybeans are grown, the city produces wine and cheese, but tourism is the major industry. Settled in the early 1830s as Commerce, the city became (1839) a Mormon center and was renamed. Nauvoo grew rapidly under Joseph Smith and the Mormons, to some 20,000 inhabitants in the early 1840s; it was briefly Illinois' largest city. After Smith and his brother were killed (1844) by a mob in nearby Carthage, his followers left Illinois for Utah (1846). From 1849 to 1856 Nauvoo was the site of a utopian socialist colony under Etienne Cabet. Smith's house and other buildings from Nauvoo's past still stand, but the original Mormon Temple was burned by anti-Mormon rioters in 1848. An imposing new limestone temple was erected on the site in 2002 and has become the focus of Mormon pilgrimage. Nauvoo State Park is nearby.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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