Thanks to its location at the shore of Lake Michigan as well as to its wide range of offerings in terms of attractions and events, the city is a favorite for tourists from around the world, with an annual 40 million visitors being welcomed in town. Furthermore, Chicago is an important center for trade, science and the finance industry and it features a significant number of cultural offering. Due to the town holding such an important position in so many regards and due to it being the home of the second-busiest airport in the world, Chicago is the hub and centerpoint for the entire Midwestern region.
The area where Chicago is located today had been settled by the Native people of the Potawatomis as early as the middle of the 18th century. First, a trading post was set up here and later the US army built a fort, before Chicago was settled in 1833. This was followed by the twons’s incorporation in 1837. From that point on, both the city’s population numbers and its overall significance rose steadily. Having passed the mark of one million residents as early as in 1890, Chicago was among the world’s fastest-growing cities until 1940. In the 1920s, in the period of prohibition, the city gained the dubious reputation of being a stronghold for gangsters and organized crime, when Al Capone and other mobsters conducted their private wars. Although those days are long gone, Chicago still has a problem with organized crime and violent gang rivalries.
In town, a variety of ethnically defined neighborhoods can be found, including those distinctly marked by Americans of Swedish, German, Italian and Greek heritage. Where there were mostly European immigrants streaming into the city from the 1880s on, Chicago experienced an influx of Black Americans from the South from 1910 on and since the end of the 20th century, it’s mainly Latin American migrants relocating here. Their share in the population today is around 30%, more than 5% of residents are of Asian heritage. There are a little more than 1 million households in the city, which is one of the most densely populated places in the country.