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.