was founded due to the fact that there
was an easy portage point between the
Chicago River and the Des Plaines River.
The spot was well known for a century
before Jean Baptiste Point Sable, a black
man possibly of Haitian origin, set up
a trading post at the mouth of the river.
A man called John Kinzie, who became a
successful fur trader and had business
dealing with people from as far away as
the Northern Great Lakes, followed him;
he is commonly called “The Father
In 1803 the site was given military importance
with the creation of Fort Dearborn, and
in the war of 1812 the fort was destroyed
with everyone in it (rebuild in 1816).
This was followed by the construction
of the Erie Canal, and then around 1850
the railroads arrived. As the population
grew the city became a transport hub,
which helped swell its numbers. As the
city grew out of control it was ripe for
disaster, and in 1871 a fire made over
90000 people homeless.
The fire caused Chicago to rebuild it’s
wooden buildings and replace them with
steel and stone. As the 20th century approached
the city found itself a centre of western
culture, with a reputation for brawling
lustiness. In 1909 the “Burnham
Plan” saw the city change again,
and with architects and designers like
Frank Lloyd Wright one of the distinctive
U.S. contributions to architecture, the
skyscraper, came into American culture.
Today one of the largest buildings in
existence, The John Hancock Tower, calls
the city it’s home.
World War I ended and the roaring 20s
came into being, the city became home
to Prohibition and the birthplace of “The
American Gangster”. Al Capone (among
many others) slaughtered each other (as
well as many hapless people) over twenty
years. As the depression turned into the
WWII era the city had prospered and advanced;
with the war came considerable growth
in the Chicago metropolitan area, especially
in outlying suburbs.
Though the 1950s to the 1990s the city
of Chicago has seen a decline in population,
although its diverse economic base spared
it the worst of the economic decay of
other large midwestern cities. Chicago's
many cultural and other attractions make
it a popular convention tourist city.
Today it remains a bustling metropolis
filled with many peoples from many background
and remains an excellent place to visit.