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An Early History of the Land That Makes Up Chicago Real Estate

Aug 22, 2008
Today, the makeup of Chicago real estate is that of a bustling metropolis of nearly three million people, home to the second busiest airport in the world, contains one of the world's tallest office buildings, and boasts what is arguably the most successful professional basketball franchise in history.

But Chicago's early history is that of a very different story.

Early History

Little is known about what went on in the real estate that makes up modern-day Chicago prior to the 17th century, except to say that is was covered with ice during the last ice age, so it is likely very few people, if any, lived there during that time.

From about 650 AD we know that Native Americans lived in a city known as Cahokia, which is actually located is southern Illinois, far from Chicago. That civilization seems to have disappeared without a trace during the 15th century however. The reasons are unknown.

The first record we have of people living in the land that makes up Chicago comes from the writings of French missionaries who visited the area during the 17th century. The people found there are known as the Mascouten. By the early 18th century, after being nearly wiped out by the French and other tribes competing for land, the Mascouten united with the Kickapoo and Fox tribes.

The last survivors of the Mascouten moved westward and are believed to have completely merged with the Kickapoo. The name "Mascouten" is actually what the Fox tribe called them. It is unknown what the Mascouten people called themselves.

Chicago Receives a Name

The name "Chicago" is sometimes believed to have been taken from Chief Chicagou of the Mitchigamea people who was known to have gone rabbit hunting with King Louis XV after visiting him in Paris. However, Chicago's name actually comes from the Native American Miami-Illinois word "shikaakwa," which the French transliterated into Chicago.

It is believe that a Catholic priest was the first to use the name on a map in the late 17th century.

The 19th Century

The Potawatomi people inhabited the Chicago area during most of the 18th century. The Patawatomi are also known for attacking a retreating column of 148 soldiers and civilians that were leaving the U.S. Army's Fort Dearborn in 1812.

William Henry Harrison, then an Army general, used the incident as an excuse to attack Miami villages, although there is no historical evidence that shows the Miami had anything to do with the Fort Dearborn attack. In fact, some eyewitnesses of the Fort Dearborn incident claim that the Miami actually fought to help the Americans.

At any rate, the Potawatomi eventually ceded the land to the American government by 1816. The town of Chicago was organized in 1833 with a population of 350 and was later incorporated in 1837. By 1840 the population had grown to 4,000.

As an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States, Chicago real estate experienced rapid growth that continues on today.
About the Author
Remax Illinois (http://www.illinoisproperty.com/chicago-real-estate.aspx) specializes in offering Chicago real estate as well homes and other land throughout Illinois. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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