Chicago, Illinois

Encyclopedia Article


Chicago is the third most populated city in the United Stated, after New York and Los Angeles. The city is the cultural and arts center of the Midwest with many museums, comedy clubs, and theaters. The city is known for improvisational comedy (one of its nicknames is "Second City," after one of its most famous theaters) as well as deep dish pizza, large ethnic communities (especially Polish), its location on Lake Michigan, and its public art and parks. While the city is also known as the “Windy City,” it is not in fact any windier than the average U.S. city. This name more likely came from an association with long-winded politicians.

The name Chicago comes from a French interpretation of the word shikaakwa, from the Miami-Illinois language, which means wild leek, onion, or garlic. In the 17th century, the area was populated by the Potawatomi people, prior to which it was home to the Miami, Sauk, and Fox peoples. Chicago’s first French settlement was founded in the 1780s by Jean Baptiste Point du Sable.

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"Chicago Skyline" by Mike Boening is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND.

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