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A History of the Chicago Portage: The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America
by Benjamin Sells
Northwestern University Press
eISBN: 978-0-8101-4391-3 | Paper: 978-0-8101-4390-6

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
This fascinating account explores the significance of the Chicago Portage, one of the most important—and neglected—sites in early US history. A seven-mile-long strip of marsh connecting the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers, the portage was inhabited by the earliest indigenous people in the Midwest and served as a major trade route for Native American tribes. A link between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Chicago Portage was a geopolitically significant resource that the French, British, and US governments jockeyed to control. Later, it became a template for some of the most significant waterways created in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The portage gave Chicago its name and spurred the city’s success—and is the reason why the metropolis is located in Illinois, not Wisconsin.
 
A History of the Chicago Portage: The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America is the definitive story of a national landmark.

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