Columbia is a city in Monroe and St. Clair County in the U.S. state of Illinois, about 12 miles (19 km) south of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 7,922 at the 2000 census.
The first white settlers to come to the area of Columbia, Illinois, were Frenchmen in the mid-17th century. They named the area in which Columbia was founded L'Aigle, which is French for "The Eagle."
In the mid-18th century, the British took over the territory until the Revolutionary War forced them out of the area. The colonial American settlers soon arrived and established the first permanent settlements in the area of Columbia, Fort Whiteside and Fort Piggott. Both forts were made out of log cabins and were used to protect against Indian raids.