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Chicago Information

The city of Chicago is located in the northeast corner of the state of Illinois on the southwestern edge of Lake Michigan. It lies within Cook County and is the county seat. Chicago is one of the largest cities in the Midwest section of the United States. The central downtown area is located closest to the lakefront, where parks and museums grace the city.

Chicago has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Winters can be harsh and snowy, with temperatures well below zero during the month of January. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures from 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in July. Summer storms and tornados are common. Spring and fall is often rainy and chilly in Chicago, with temperatures often around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The area around Chicago was first inhabited by native tribes. They gave the city its name from an Indian word meaning "wild onion" because of the fields of wild onions that grew there. Chicago came to importance early in the settlement of the Midwest because of its location between Lake Michigan and a number of waterways that connect it to the Mississippi River. Early explorers to the area came to Chicago via these waterways. Fort Dearborn was built by the U.S. military to protect the area in 1803, but it was destroyed in the War of 1812. In 1833, the town of Chicago was established, and it increased in population rapidly. The interconnection of rivers and lakes made the city a hub for the transport of goods and people. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed much of the city, but it was quickly rebuilt with some of the most extraordinary architecture of the century. In 1885, the city built its first skyscraper. New immigrants from Europe flooded the city during the 1900s, drawn by wealth of jobs created by the growing population. The ease of transportation continued to bring many new businesses to the city. Today, Chicago has the fourth largest domestic product of any city in the world.

Chicago has a diverse population with people from all over the world. Whites make up 45 percent of the population, and 29 percent are Hispanic or Latino African-Americans comprise 33 percent of the population. Asians make up 5.5 percent of the city's population. The median income is $38,000.

Chicago has a broadly based economy with transportation, manufacturing, finance, retail, electronics, agriculture, and education. It is the corporate headquarters for up to 400 businesses. Chicago continues to add new industries to its economy.

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