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Thu, 03.04.1745

Jean Du Sable, Explorer born

Jean Du Sable (bust)

On this date, Chicago affirms DuSable Day, the birth of Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable in 1745. He was a Black pioneer, trader, and founder of the settlement that later became the city of Chicago.

Du Sable was from St. Marc, Saint-Domingue, now Haiti.  His French father had moved there and married a Black woman.  DuSable is believed to have been freeborn. Around the 1770s, he went to the Great Lakes area of North America, settling on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River with his Potawatomi wife, Kittihawa (Catherine).

The British arrested him in 1779 for defiance of the crown and took him to Fort Mackinac. There, he managed a trading post called the Pinery on the St. Clair River in present-day Michigan, after which he returned to the site of Chicago.

By 1790, Du Sable's establishment had become an important link in the region's fur and grain trade. In 1800, he sold out and moved to Missouri, where he continued as a farmer and trader until his death. But his 20-year residence on the shores of Lake Michigan had established his title as Father of Chicago. Jean DuSable died Aug. 28th, 1818, in St. Charles, Missouri.

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