The city (3,018,000 inhabitants, but over 8,100,000 in the metropolitan area in 1987) is, with New York, the very symbol of modern urbanism. Built on a flat coastal plain, Chicago benefits greatly from the presence of Lake Michigan and from the crossing position of the great transcontinental lines. The city proper is surrounded by centers in full expansion, some with residential functions (Evanston, Skokie), others with industrial functions (Gary, Hammond, Elgin, Aurora, Joliet, Calumet). Towards the latter, in particular towards the south, the most cumbersome industries are transferred, gradually expelled from the city.
Its port, enhanced by the opening of the San Lorenzo canal (1959), which made it accessible to ocean-going vessels, records an annual movement of about 22 million tons (mainly minerals, oil, coal, cereals, chemicals, steel). Chicago is also the largest railway hub in the country and in the world: the tonnage transported is higher than that of the other two major railway centers put together: Saint Louis and New York; 27 railway lines depart in all directions, connecting Chicago. To Canada as well as to the West, the South-West and the Atlantic coast; the marshalling yards, of which many are located along the lake coast and in the city center, are colossal. Relevant is the role of Chicago.
According to acronymmonster, this convergence of ways and means of communication has allowed the development of multiple activities. Chicago has the largest grain markets in the world and is the largest US center of livestock trading: the nearby Corn Belt region sends millions of pigs and cattle each year, while hundreds of thousands of rams are sent from the western mountains. to the famous slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.
In addition to being a commercial and financial metropolis, Chicago is a large industrial center; the factories cover tens of km 2and sometimes they form entire neighborhoods. The production range is very varied. In the first place are the steel industries: blast furnaces and steel mills are located mainly in the southern area of the city and in the city of Gary, which is part of the metropolitan area even though it is included in the state of Indiana. Then all the metalworking industries meet: railway construction, agricultural machinery, aeronautics, automobiles, machine tools. In the food sector, meat processing and the milling industry are at the fore. Also noteworthy are the electrotechnical and electronic industries, the chemical industries (in particular, petrochemicals), the textile and clothing industries. Publishing is renowned: Chicago. In this branch has become one of the major American centers, surpassing even Boston.
The metropolitan role of the city is highlighted by the presence of numerous universities, important libraries, museums and art galleries.
State of North America. Explored by the French, it was ceded to England in 1762 and was then annexed to the province of Québec (1774), but it broke away from it during the US Revolution and became a State of the Union in 1818. Center of great immigration, during the civil war he was loyal to Lincoln. It had a peculiar political life, dominated after 1865 by the farmers’ party (granger). At the end of the century, rapid industrialization strengthened the trade union organizations and the more traditional parties, causing tensions between the rural world and urban centers.