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Facts About Chicago

Chicago In addition to being the largest city in the state of Illinois, Chicago is actually the third most populous city in the United States, with a population of nearly three million people. The metropolitan area, which comprises numerous suburbs, is often referred to by the nickname "Chicagoland". It is also the third largest in population, lagging behind only the New York City and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Almost 10 million people call the Chicagoland area home, and boasting the second-largest passenger airport in the U.S., rakes in billions of dollars each year through the fields of business and tourism.

Originally settled by Native Americans, the Chicago area was established as a city by the United States government in 1833. At that point, it was a small town with a population of 200 residents. Although the winters were long and harsh, many found the climate and easy access to food, water, and transportation from this area desirable for setting up a home or business. As the city came into its own as one of the country's most important transportation hubs, the population continued to swell. By the mid-1800's, Chicago was home to a railroad line, as well as a canal, making itself an essential stop for those who wanted to transport goods.

Unfortunately, at the height of Chicago's success, it saw many setbacks, including the Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed almost 5 miles of the city. The fire claimed many lives, displaced residents, and forced the city to begin building again. With renewed hope and vigor, it did just that. The city setting itself up as the Railway Capital Of The United States, and drawing immigrants in the early 1900's willing to provide cheap labor in exchange for a reasonable cost of living.

In the 1920's, Chicago was a central focal point in the battle between law enforcement and outlaws, particularly those protesting the idea of Prohibition. A new industry was born, one that focused on delivering a good time, including alcohol, illegal gambling, and prostitution. It wasn't long before both the Mafia and corrupt politicians saw a way to profit from the rebellious atmosphere in Chicago, and it gained a reputation for corruption. However, out of these negative times came the birth of a more legitimate hospitality industry, and even after Prohibition was repealed, it remained a place that drew artists, musicians, and those looking for a fresh start.

Today, Chicago still has one of the country's most vibrant arts scenes, is a hub of national and international transportation, and many Fortune 500 companies have built their headquarters in Chicagoland. A city that's built on hard-work, resilience, and a willingness to roll the dice, Chicago continues to thrive through both prosperous and difficult economic times.