The city of Chicago has a rich history that began in 1673 when Joliet and Marquette explored the geographical location of Chicago, though the first resident of the city did not arrive until the 1770s. This resident was a free black man named Jean Baptiste Point du Sable.
In 1795, the U.S. government built Fort Dearborn, but local Native Americans set fire to it in 1812. Chicago began to flourish with the building of a trading center in 1837 and the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1848. When the railroad came through Chicago, it became an epicenter of trading and westward expansion.
One of the most historic moments in Chicago's history occurred in 1871 with the Great Chicago Fire. This fire burned down most of the buildings in downtown Chicago including sidewalks and streets, all of which were made out of wood. Today, the Chicago Fire Department has its training center on the site where the fire first began.
Despite the fire, Chicago quickly rebuilt itself, and immigrants flocked to the city to find work in the meatpacking industry and the factories. Chicago is the birthplace of many different American inventions such as the refrigerated rail car, the car radio, mail-order retailing and the TV remote control.