Chicago before it was called Chicago was just land of Indian territory. They named the area Chickagou or Checagou, which meant a type of smell which at the time indicated wild onion, skunk cabbage, and a resentful colony of polecats. The word was also in general use among the savages to indicate a bad smell, a symbolism which is still kept alive by the politicians and the stockyards. The first known permanent settler, a Santo Dominigan Negro named Baptiste Pointe De Sable built a cabin here in 1779.
Wolf Point was an early settlement that is now part of Chicago.
Fort Dearborn was built near Chicago in the earliest of pioneer days. The fort was destroyed on August 15 by Indians during the War of 1812 and rebuilt in 1816 and some remnants of this fort remained until the Great Chicago Fire destroyed what ever was left at the site. Oddly, a replica of the fort was built for Chicago's Century of Progress in 1933, but it too was destroyed by fire in 1940.