The Chicago Portage archive is available for download as a single .zip file from here. The archive includes copies of The Chicago Portage Ledger, photographs of the site, and the video "Connected Worlds: The Story of the Chicago Portage.
Furthermore, this December, we are launching a new platform for our unique digital collections.
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The Dream Deferred
LaSalle’s vision of global trade however was realized, but not by him.
LaSalle may have been the first to envision buying the natural resources of North America with European capitol, then trading to the Chinese for their spices, silk and gunpowder, and then on the final leg of this global enterprise, taking those goods back to sell in Europe where the whole cycle would begin again. But he failed to complete the first part of the project, the colonization of the Mississippi Valley.
For a few decades following LaSalle’s ventures in the Illinois Country a modest fur trade was conducted through the Chicago portage by the French. But multiple changes in the French King’s North American economic policies kept the trade small and no one entrepreneur, as LaSalle had hoped to be, emerged to control the trade.
But like Joliet’s dream of a canal of a half a league, LaSalle’s dream of global trade route from North America to Asia to Europe persisted.
Next page: The Dream Realized