For centuries the Chicago area represented for Native Americans just one of a number of key portages for long-distance canoe travel between the Great Lakes and the river network of the Mississippi Basin. These routes were vital for seasonal migrations and periodic trade between populations bordering the Great Lakes and the middle Mississippi Valley. These corridors of interregional movement proved essential to the successful development of the fur trade following contact with Europeans, a trade that flourished in the Chicago area until the opening decades of the nineteenth century.
Authors: Helen Hornbeck Tanner and Michael P. Conzen
Source: Newberry Library