city, seat (1841) of Lake county, northeastern Illinois, U.S. It lies on a high bluff above Lake Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Chicago. One of the oldest communities in the state, it was originally a Potawatomi Indian settlement. It was visited by the French explorer Jacques Marquette in 1673 and became a French trading post and fort known as Little Fort. During the 19th century the community grew as a port city, and in 1849 it was incorporated as a town and renamed Waukegan, Potawatomi for "Fort" or "Trading Post." The arrival of the railroad in 1855 spurred the development of manufacturing. Manufactures include electronics and health care products. Waukegan is part of the Milwaukee-Chicago urban-industrial complex. Waukegan is the seat of Shimer College (founded in 1853 at Mt. Carroll; relocated to Waukegan in 1978). To the north of the city is Illinois Beach State Park. Natives of Waukegan include the comedian Jack Benny and the science-fiction author Ray Bradbury. Inc. city, 1859. Pop. (1990) 69,392; (2000) 87,901.
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