Chicago, colloquially known as the Second City and the Windy City, is the third-largest city in population in the United States and the largest inland city in the country. Chicago is located in the Midwestern state of Illinois along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.
Chicago's population of 2,896,016 (2000 census) makes it the tenth-most-populous in the Western Hemisphere and the 62nd largest in the world. When combined with its suburbs and eight surrounding counties, the greater metropolitan area known as Chicagoland encompasses more than 9 million people.
Growing from a frontier town in 1833 to one of the world's premier cities, Chicago is ranked as one of 10 "Alpha" (most influential) world cities by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network. The city has long been known as a financial, industrial, and transportation center and for its ethnic diversity. Chicago's skyscrapers, local cuisine, political traditions, and sports teams are some of the most recognized symbols of the city. A variety of colloquial nicknames reflect Chicago's unique character.
A resident of Chicago is referred to as a Chicagoan. About one-third each of Chicagoans are White or African-American, with a sizeable Hispanic minority and small amounts of other ethnic groups. Chicago also has many dozen distinct neighborhoods to match the ethnic diversity; the city is divided into 77 official community areas.
During the mid 1700s, the Chicago area was inhabited primarily by Potawatomis, who took the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox who had controlled the area previously. The name Chicago originates from "Checagou" (Chick-Ah-Goo-Ah) or "Checaguar," which in the Potawatomi language means "Garlic not onions" or "skunk." The area was so named because of the smell of rotting marshland wild leeks (ramps) that once covered it.
The first non-native settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a Haitian of African descent, who settled on the Chicago River in the 1770s and married a local Potawatomi woman. In 1795, following the War of the Wabash Confederacy, the area of Chicago was ceded by the Native Americans in the Treaty of Greenville to the United States for a military post. In 1803, Fort Dearborn was built and remained in use until 1837, except between 1812 and 1816 when it was destroyed in the Fort Dearborn Massacre during the War of 1812.
Incorporation and growth
On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was incorporated with a population of 350. The first boundaries of the new town were Kinzie, Desplaines, Madison, and State streets, which included an area of about three-eighths of a square mile (1 km²).
Within seven years the primarily French and Native American town had a population of over 4,000. Chicago was granted a city charter by Illinois on March 4, 1837. The opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in 1848 allowed shipping from the Great Lakes through Chicago to the Mississippi River and so to the Gulf of Mexico. The first rail line to Chicago, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, was completed the same year. These projects foreshadowed Chicago's eventual development into the transportation hub of the United States. Chicago also became home to national retailers, including Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck and Company, offering catalog shopping using these connections.
The geography of Chicago presented early citizens with many problems. The prairie bog nature of the area provided a fertile ground for disease-carrying insects. Early on, Chicago's population and commerce growth was stymied by lack of good transportation infrastructure. During spring, Chicago was so muddy from the high water that horses would be stuck past their legs in the street. One dirt road was so hazardous that it became known as the "Slough of Despond". Comical signs proclaiming "Fastest route to China" or "No Bottom Here" were placed to warn people of the mud.
To address these transportation problems, the Board of Cook County Commissioners decided to improve two country roads toward the west and southwest. The first road crossed the "dismal Nine-mile swamp" and Des Plaines River to the west, then continued southwest to Walker's Grove, now known as Plainfield. The second road headed south, but its exact route is disputed.
Early Chicago was also plagued by sewer and water problems. Many people described it as the filthiest city in America. To solve the problems, the city initiated the creation of a massive sewer system. In the first phase sewage pipes were laid across the city above-ground, with gravity moving the waste. The second phase, executed in 1855, involved raising the level of the city by four to seven feet (one to two meters); this was done by jacking up buildings and placing fill in order to raise streets above the swamp and the newly-laid sewer pipes.
By 1857 Chicago was the largest city in what was then known as the Northwest. In a period of 20 years, Chicago's population grew from 4,000 to over 90,000 people.
The 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago nominated home-state candidate Abraham Lincoln for U.S. president.
At the election of April 23, 1875 the voters of Chicago chose to operate under the Illinois Cities and Villages Act of 1872. Chicago still operates under this act in lieu of a charter. The Cities and Villages Act has been revised several times since, and may be found in Chapter 65 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.
Great Chicago Fire
In 1871, most of the city burned in the Great Chicago Fire. The damage was immense: 300 people died, 18,000 buildings were destroyed and nearly 100,000 of the city's 300,000 residents were left homeless. One of the factors contributing to the fire's spread was the abundance of wood: the streets, sidewalks and many buildings were built of wood. Because of the extensive damage, city planners had a clean slate and the chance to fix problems of the past. In the following years, Chicago architecture would become influential throughout the world. The world's first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was constructed in 1885 using novel steelskeleton construction.
Lake Michigan, the primary source of fresh water for the city, became highly polluted from the rapidly growing industries in and around Chicago. Needing a new source of clean water, the city built tunnels below Lake Michigan to new water inlet stations ("cribs") two miles (three km) offshore. However, spring rains and the Chicago River still carried pollution to the inlet stations. In 1900 the water-supply problem was solved by an engineering project that switched the flow of the Chicago river away from the lake and into the new Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
During Prohibition, Chicago was arguably the organized-crime capital of the nation. Infamous crime lords, including Frank Nitti, George "Bugs" Moran, and Al Capone, thrived in Chicago, virtually unchallenged by the city's police force. The most famous incident attributed to Chicago's crime syndicates is the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, in which Capone's men gunned down seven unarmed rivals in a warehouse on the North Side. The only group that was ever able to threaten Capone and his fellow gangsters was The Untouchables, a special taskforce led by U.S. Treasury Officer Elliot Ness. Although organized crime in Chicago is no longer as active as it was during Prohibition, the Chicago chapter of the Italian-American Mafia, known as "The Outfit," is still considered to be very powerful.
In 1955, the head of the city's Democratic political machine, Richard J. Daley, was elected mayor. His twenty-one year tenure until his death is arguably one of the most powerful and impacting mayoralties in the city's history. Under Daley's rule, Chicago's Loop had a building boom that continues to this day while many residential neighborhoods became impoverished, some extremely so. O'Hare International Airport, many skyscrapers including the Sears Tower, and most of Chicago's expressway system were built or expanded during his tenure.
The late 20th Century was also witness to a massive construction of new skyscrapers, especially in the downtown area. The newest of these buildings is the Trump Tower Chicago, which is being built by billionaire Donald Trump on the site of the Chicago Sun-Times building on the Chicago River. A recent plan by developer Fordham Co. to build a 2,000 foot tall tower (with spire) along Lake Shore Drive has been proposed but will have to clear major political and financial hurdles before it is approved.
Chicago's signature foods reflect the city's ethnic and working-class roots. Chicago deep-dish pizza, popularized by Uno and Due pizzerias, is world renowned, although thin-crust and other styles of pizza are also popular throughout the city. A traditional Chicago hotdog is typically loaded with mustard, chopped onion, sliced tomato, pickle relish, celery salt and a dill pickle spear. It is somewhat taboo to put ketchup on a Chicago hotdog, there are actually some small hotdog shops and stands that will refuse service to you if you make the request. A Chicago hotdog is almost always made out of Vienna Beef, the largest provider of hot dog meat for Chicago. Chicago is also known for Italian Beef sandwiches such as Al's Beef, located near the UIC campus and the Maxwell Street Polish, topped with grilled onions and mustard.
Chicago also has a long list of world-renowned upscale dining establishments serving a wide array of cuisine from some of the most well-known chefs in the nation. Some notable destinations include Charlie Trotter's (chef Charlie Trotter) on Armitage in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, Frontera Grill, a gourmet Mexican restaurant owned by Food Network star Rick Bayless, and The Everest, a new-French restaurant on the top floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building downtown.
Chicago is one of the few cities in the United States with two professional baseball teams (Cubs, White Sox), professional football (Bears), soccer (Fire), basketball (Bulls, WNBA Sky), and professional hockey (Blackhawks). In addition, Chicago has a minor-league hockey team (Wolves). Chicago sports teams have a high visibility throughout the nation for many reasons. The Chicago Cubs play in one of the most famous stadiums in baseball, Wrigley Field, reknowned for age, historic value, and classic stlye. The Chicago Cubs are also famous for being "loveable losers" who despite not being the most successful team always seem to be have a full stadium of dedicated fans. The Chicago Bears football team has been home to some favorite NFL personalities and icons like George Halas, Dick Butkus, William "Refrigerator" Perry, Mike Ditka, and legendary Walter Payton to name a few. The Chicago Bulls are argueably the the most recognised basketball team in the world thanks to the heriocs of the player who is usually cited as the best basketball player the world has ever seen, Micheal Jordan. The hometown TV station WGN being broadcast nation-wide also has helped spread the visibility of Chicago sports, much like TBS has helped make the Atlanta Braves one of America's famous teams. In the early history of the city, sports were at the heart of some founding legends. During the city's boomtown days local authorities staged a dog fight, knowing that it would attract some of the more unsavory characters on the town's crime scene. As soon as the fight began, police moved in and arrested every criminal and escorted them to the city borders. While the complete truth of the story is sometimes doubted, it is important as an early Chicago legend and does reflect the early days of sports in the city. Early Chicago had only the most primitive of sports. Until about 1850, men outnumbered women and this male-dominated subculture encouraged gambling and drinking, as well as activities such as billiards and horse racing. The city of Chicago has announced that it will bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Chicago Bears Football National Football League Soldier Field
Chicago Blackhawks Hockey National Hockey League United Center
Chicago Bulls Basketball National Basketball Association United Center
Chicago Cubs Baseball Major League Baseball: National League Wrigley Field
Chicago Fire Soccer Major League Soccer Soldier Field
Chicago White Sox Baseball Major League Baseball: American League U.S. Cellular Field (New Comiskey Park)
Here is a list of famous people from Chicago, Illinois
Richard M. Daley,
Chicago has twenty four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI), they include the following places:
Petach Tikva (Israel)
Prague (Czech Republic)
Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
Mexico City (Mexico)
Durban (South Africa)
Belgrade (Serbia and Montenegro)