Chicago's population of approximately 3 million people and its metropolitan area of over 9 million people make it the third-most populous city and metropolitan area in the United States. Adjacent to Lake Michigan, it is the largest Great Lakes city and among the world's 25 largest urban areas by population. Incorporated as a city in 1837 after being founded in 1833 at the site of a portage, it became a transportation hub in North America and the financial capital of the Midwest. Since the World's Fair of 1893, it has been regarded as one of the ten most influential cities in the world. For example, diverse events such as Chicago Pile-1, the first man made nuclear reactor, and Chicago school architecture have changed human history, and the way urban spaces are organized. Chicago boasts some of the world's tallest buildings (Willis Tower, and Trump International Hotel and Tower). The University of Chicago is a leader in many fields and has contributed to academic thought, such as the Chicago school of economics or Chicago school of sociology.
Today, Chicago has diverse cultural offerings: teams from each of the major league sports (Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox), a financial district anchored by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on LaSalle Street in the Chicago Board of Trade Building, and an arts culture anchored by the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park as well as Chicago Landmarks such as Wrigley Field. The Magnificent Mile is a fitting tribute for a city that has revolutionized retail merchandising with mail order catalogs, the money-back guarantee, bridal registry and using posted prices on goods.
Chicago hosts O'Hare (the world's second busiest) and Midway International Airports as well as the renowned 'L' rapid transit system. Chicago was once the capital of the railroad industry and the nation's meatpacking had its hub at the Union Stock Yards. Chicago has seen the influence of Al Capone. Recent members of the Cook County Democratic Party from Chicago include Chicago Mayors Richard J. Daley and his son Richard M. Daley, Chicago's first African-American Mayor, Harold Washington, the first African-American female United States Senator, Carol Mosley-Braun, and the first African-American United States President, former Senator Barack Obama.
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