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Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable
Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable

Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, a black man of Haitian and French descent, settled on the banks of the Chicago River in about 1773, when the land that would become Illinois was still a part of the British Empire. Married to an Indian woman, DuSable operated a thriving trading post and farm near where present-day Michigan Avenue crosses the Chicago River. DuSable's post served Native Americans, British, and American explorers, as well as Frenchmen who stayed on in the territory even after their armies' defeat in the French and Indian War. Sometime around 1800 DuSable left his settlement for Missouri. Historians do not know why he departed the Illinois country. Nonetheless, DuSable's pioneering effort made him the first non-Native American to settle the area that would become the metropolis of Chicago, Illinois.

Image source: Chicago Historical Society
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project