DARC Ethiophile Chronicles
On this day
March 13, 1773 Jean Baptiste Point du Sable established the first permanent settlement at 'Skikai-o,' meaning "the place of wild onions,' and is now known as Chicago, Illinois. This African-American merchant also established trading posts at present day Peoria, Illinois; Port Huron, Michigan; and Michigan City, Indiana. Du Sable's log cabin home, located at 401 North Michigan Avenue, became a national historic landmark in 1976. The Native Americans of the area have been known to say "the first white man to settle here was a negro."
As a free black man, Point du Sable is believed to have been born most likely in Haiti sometime before 1750. His biography is sketchy, pieced together from the rare instances when he had to deal with the British or American governments.
From 1768 or so, Point du Sable operated as an engagé, a fur trader with an official license from the British government. In the early years of the United States, Point du Sable was managing a trading post in Indiana. The area was officially Indian-owned (he was a tenant) and Point du Sable was harassed by both British and American troops who passed through the Midwest.