Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Time to revise ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’
Chicago was founded by Frenchmen.
A fact so little recognized, it looks strange in print. But true. The city began with Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette, born in France, arriving in 1673 to preach le bon Dieu to Native Americans. His canoemate was fur trader Louis Jolliet, born in French Quebec. And don't forget Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the city's first permanent resident. He is usually thought of as black and Haitian, period, ignoring that Haiti was, at the time, like a third of the United States including Illinois, under the control of France.
Even the word “Chicago” is a French mash of the Algonquin name for the place, having to do either with onions or bad smells (the word “skunk” is related).
Why this history? Facebook erupted in cries of “Vive la France” at Sunday’s victory of centrist Emmanuel Macron over nationalist Marine Le Pen. Half of America rejoiced, congratulating French friends.
“I think everybody in America was quite relieved, even more than in France,” said Marie Weber, brand specialist at the Alliance Française, a Chicago cultural center.
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