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Norbert Rillieux: American InventorW. E. B. DuBoisMaggie Lena WalkerMatthew A. Henson: Arctic ExplorerElijah McCoy: American InventorToday's featured page: Rivers



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Jean Du Sable: Explorer

Jean-Baptiste-Point Du Sable (1750?-1818) was a Haitian-French pioneer and trader; he founded the settlement that would later become Chicago.

Du Sable's father was a merchant from France, and his mother was Haitian; Du Sable left Haiti in the 1770's for the Great Lakes area of North America. Due to his loyalty to the Americans, he was arrested by the British in 1779, and he spent the next few years as their prisoner at Fort Mackinac. During this time, he managed a British trading post (called the Pinery) on the St. Clair River in what is now Michigan. He then went to the area that is now Chicago, Illinois, at the mouth of the Chicago River on the shores of Lake Michigan (called Fort Dearborn). He was the first non-Indian resident of that area. Du Sable married a Potawatomi Indian woman called Kittihawa (also known as Catherine).

Du Sable traded fur and grain, establishing this area as vital to trade. Du Sable later moved to Missouri (in 1780), spending the rest of his life as a farmer and trader. He died in St. Charles, Missouri, on August 28, 1818. The name of Du Sable's settlement was changed from Fort Dearborn to Chicago in 1830.

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