Sunday, May 19, 2024


Chicago is the third-largest metropolis in the United States. The city has an interesting and long history. Over the decades, Chicago has evolved from a small provincial town into an industrial metropolis. Chicago-future reports.

Establishment of a missionary post

In the 17th century, part of the North American territories were ruled by the French. Thanks to the initiative of King Louis XIII, a governorship was established in Canada, which led to the foundation of a number of permanent settlements, such as Montreal and Quebec.

At that time, the French government pursued a strict religious policy that allowed only Catholics to settle in New France. This led to the emergence of large missionary communities in Canada.

In 1666, a young Jesuit, James Marquette, came to the missionary community. The man quickly learned the language of the local Huron tribes and began to participate in missions. The Jesuits tried to convert the tribes of Indians who lived along the St. Lawrence River to Christianity.

In 1673, James Marquette set out on an expedition to the upper Mississippi. However, the trip did not bring the expected results, as the members of the expedition faced extreme hostility from local tribes.

In August of the same year, the young missionary returned to Lake Michigan. On December 4, 1674, James Marquette founded a small missionary post on the southern shore of the reservoir, where he decided to stay to wait out the winter. However, in the spring of 1675, he died after contracting dysentery during the trip.

The origin of the name “Chicago”

The mission led by Marquette was first mentioned in the diary of Rene Robert Cavelier, a famous French traveler. He called the missionary post “Shikagu”, which was a kind of distortion of the Indian word “shikaakwa”. This is how the local Illinois Indians called the wild onions that grew in the forests and on the coast.

After a while, two settlements of Miami Indians appeared near the missionary post, seeking refuge from the hostile Iroquois. The first non-Indian to settle in Chicago was Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable. Before that, he lived on the island of Haiti, but was forced to flee from the authorities because of his strong commitment to the American Revolution.

Officially, the city of 100 people was added to the register of settlements only on August 4, 1830. In a few years, the population in Chicago grew to 350 inhabitants. Therefore, on August 12, 1833, the settlement received the status of a village.

Rapid development of the city

The excellent geographical location and abundance of agricultural land contributed to the rapid development of Chicago. On March 4, 1837, the city was granted city status. The opening of the canal that connected the Mississippi with the Great Lakes and the railroad had a positive impact on the Chicago economy.

The development of Chicago contributed to the population growth, and only 20 years after obtaining the city status, the settlement became the second largest in the United States.

Between 1870 and 1900, many immigrants from Europe came to America. As a result, the population of Chicago increased to 1.7 million people. Such a high rate of population growth was an absolute world record.

The fire that destroyed the city

Until 1871, Chicago had been developing successfully, but everything was ruined by a large-scale fire that swept through the city on October 8-10 of that year. The fire claimed the lives of hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of city buildings.

In particular, 1871 was marked by extremely dry and hot weather. At the same time, the vast majority of buildings in Chicago were made of wood, which further increased the level of fire danger.

The fire started on the night of October 8 near the home of Catherine and Patrick O’Leary. According to one version, the couple’s cow knocked over a lighted kerosene lamp. The fire quickly engulfed the area around the O’Leary estate and spread to neighboring buildings. The fire spread to downtown Chicago.

The fire raged for two days. It was extinguished only on October 10. On that day, firefighting equipment was brought to the city and torrential rain began to fall. The fire claimed the lives of 300 Chicago residents, and about 100,000 residents were left homeless. An estimated 17,000 buildings were destroyed. The damage caused by the fire to the city was estimated at $200 million.

After the horrific fire, a wave of lawlessness and looting swept through Chicago. Therefore, the authorities were forced to impose martial law for several weeks.

In November 1871, the city held mayoral elections. Joseph Medill won, promising to rebuild Chicago and develop new fire safety measures.

Fortunately, the city’s critical infrastructure was not destroyed. Chicago was rebuilt at a fairly rapid pace, which had a corresponding impact on the city’s development and population growth.

Chicago’s new and comfortable layout, landscape, and the world’s first skyscrapers led to a population boom in the city. While before 1871, 324 thousand people lived in Chicago, after the city was rebuilt, the population grew to half a million.

It took only 20 years for the city to transform into a powerful economic and transportation center with more than 1 million people.

It is worth adding that a firefighter training school is located on the site of the O’Leary estate where the fire started. The owner of the estate died in 1895.

Interesting facts about Chicago

It is worth knowing a few important facts about Chicago to understand more about the city’s life:

  • First, a few words about Chicago’s climate. The city is located in the northeastern part of Illinois, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Chicago is located in a humid continental climate zone, which contributes to cold, short winters and hot and rainy summers.
  • Life in Chicago is not as expensive as in the million-plus cities of San Francisco and New York. Therefore, the city is a great place to live for people who have just moved to the United States. Chicago is a good option for a comfortable life and successful business.
  • There is one not very attractive factor. Security in Chicago is at a low level. In recent years, the city has seen an increase in crime. Therefore, if you are going to Chicago on a tourist trip, you should be careful not to visit the black neighborhoods at night. But the desire to see the popular tourist spots is not dangerous.
  • Chicago has two international airports – O’Hare and Midway. O’Hare is considered one of the busiest airports in the world. It handles approximately 70 million passengers annually. Midway, on the other hand, is much smaller in terms of passenger traffic. It is located 13 kilometers from the center.
  • Chicago is often called the “city of skyscrapers”. In the second half of the 19th century, the city experienced a real construction boom. It was during this period that numerous migrants arrived in Chicago, which led to economic and industrial growth. In a short period of time, the city became one of the architectural centers of America with the tallest buildings. In 1885, the world’s first skyscraper, The Home Insurance Building, was built in Chicago. The building consisted of 10 floors and was 42 meters high. In 1891, two more floors were added to the skyscraper. However, the building adorned the center of Chicago only until 1931. This year, the skyscraper was demolished and replaced by the 42-story Field Building.

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