Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". Michigan is the ninth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area (the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River). Its capital is Lansing, and the largest city is Detroit.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often noted to be shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. The state has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. As a result, it is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating. Michigan also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds, and a person in the state is never more than from a natural water source or more than from a Great Lakes shoreline.
What is now Michigan was first settled by various Native American tribes before being colonized by French explorers in the 17th century and becoming a part of New France. After the defeat of France in the French and Indian War in 1762 the region came under British rule, and was finally ceded to the newly independent United States after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was organized as part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Eventually, in 1805, the Michigan Territory was formed, which lasted until it was admitted into the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state. The state of Michigan soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular immigrant destination.
Though Michigan has come to develop a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, being home to the country's three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all located within the Detroit metropolitan area). While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is economically important due to its status as a tourist destination as well as its abundance of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, services, and high-tech industry.
When the first European explorers arrived, the most populous tribes were Algonquian peoples, which include the Anishinaabe groups of Ojibwe (called "Chippewa" in French), Odaawaa/Odawa (Ottawa), and the Boodewaadamii/Bodéwadmi (Potawatomi). The three nations co-existed peacefully as part of a loose confederation called the Council of Three Fires. The Ojibwe, whose numbers are estimated to have been between 25,000 and 35,000, were the largest.
The Ojibwe were established in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern and central Michigan, and also inhabited Ontario, northern Wisconsin, southern Manitoba, and northern and north-central Minnesota. The Ottawa lived primarily south of the Straits of Mackinac in northern, western and southern Michigan, but also in southern Ontario, northern Ohio and eastern Wisconsin, while the Potawatomi were in southern and western Michigan, in addition to northern and central Indiana, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and southern Ontario. Other Algonquian tribes in Michigan, in the south and east, were the Mascouten, the Menominee, the Miami, the Sac (or Sauk), and the Fox, and the non-Algonquian Wyandot, who are better known by their French name, the Huron.
French voyageurs and coureurs des bois explored and settled in Michigan in the 17th century. The first Europeans to reach what later became Michigan were those of Étienne Brûlé's expedition in 1622. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1668 on the site where Père Jacques Marquette established Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan as a base for Catholic missions. Missionaries in 1671–75 founded outlying stations at Saint Ignace and Marquette. Jesuit missionaries were well received by the Indian populations in the area, with relatively few difficulties or hostilities. In 1679, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle built Fort Miami at present-day St. Joseph.
In 1701, French explorer and army officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or "Fort Pontchartrain on-the-Strait" on the strait, known as the Detroit River, between lakes Saint Clair and Erie. Cadillac had convinced King Louis XIV's chief minister, Louis Phélypeaux, Comte de Pontchartrain, that a permanent community there would strengthen French control over the upper Great Lakes and discourage British aspirations.
The hundred soldiers and workers who accompanied Cadillac built a fort enclosing one arpent (about , the equivalent of just under per side) and named it Fort Pontchartrain. Cadillac's wife, Marie Thérèse Guyon, soon moved to Detroit, becoming one of the first European women to settle in the Michigan wilderness. The town quickly became a major fur-trading and shipping post. The Église de Saint-Anne (Church of Saint Ann) was founded the same year. While the original building does not survive, the congregation of that name continues to be active today. Cadillac later departed to serve as the French governor of Louisiana from 1710 to 1716. French attempts to consolidate the fur trade led to the Fox Wars involving the Meskwaki (Fox) and their allies versus the French and their Native allies.
At the same time, the French strengthened Fort Michilimackinac at the Straits of Mackinac to better control their lucrative fur-trading empire. By the mid-18th century, the French also occupied forts at present-day Niles and Sault Ste. Marie, though most of the rest of the region remained unsettled by Europeans. France offered free land in an effort to attract families to Detroit, which grew to 800 people in 1765, the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans.
From 1660 to the end of French rule, Michigan was part of the Royal Province of New France. In 1760, Montreal fell to the British forces ending the French and Indian War (1754–1763). Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Michigan and the rest of New France east of the Mississippi River passed to Great Britain. After the Quebec Act was passed in 1774, Michigan became part of the British Province of Quebec. By 1778, Detroit's population was up to 2,144 and it was the third largest city in Quebec.
During the American Revolutionary War, Detroit was an important British supply center. Most of the inhabitants were French-Canadians or Native Americans, many of whom had been allied with the French. Because of imprecise cartography and unclear language defining the boundaries in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the British retained control of Detroit and Michigan after the American Revolution. When Quebec split into Lower and Upper Canada in 1791, Michigan was part of Kent County, Upper Canada. It held its first democratic elections in August 1792 to send delegates to the new provincial parliament at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake).
Under terms negotiated in the 1794 Jay Treaty, Britain withdrew from Detroit and Michilimackinac in 1796. Questions remained over the boundary for many years, and the United States did not have uncontested control of the Upper Peninsula and Drummond Island until 1818 and 1847, respectively.
During the War of 1812, Michigan Territory (effectively consisting of Detroit and the surrounding area) was surrendered after a nearly bloodless siege in 1812. An attempt to retake Detroit resulted in a severe American defeat in the River Raisin Massacre. This battle is still the bloodiest ever fought in the state and had the highest number of American casualties of any battle in the war. Ultimately, Michigan was recaptured by Americans in 1813 after the Battle of Lake Erie. An invasion of Canada which culminated in the Battle of the Thames was then launched from Michigan. The more northern areas were held by the British until the peace treaty restored the old boundaries. A number of forts, including Fort Wayne were built in Michigan during the 19th century out of fears of renewed fighting with Britain.
The population grew slowly until the opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal connecting the Great Lakes and the Hudson River and New York City. The new route brought a large influx of settlers, who became farmers and merchants and shipped out grain, lumber, and iron ore. By the 1830s, Michigan had 80,000 residents, more than enough to apply and qualify for statehood. In October 1835 the people approved the Constitution of 1835, thereby forming a state government, although Congressional recognition was delayed pending resolution of a boundary dispute with Ohio known as the Toledo War. Congress awarded the "Toledo Strip" to Ohio. Michigan received the western part of the Upper Peninsula as a concession and formally entered the Union on January 26, 1837. The Upper Peninsula proved to be a rich source of lumber, iron, and copper. Michigan led the nation in lumber production from the 1850s to the 1880s. Railroads became a major engine of growth from the 1850s onward, with Detroit the chief hub.
The first statewide meeting of the Republican Party took place July 6, 1854, in Jackson, Michigan, where the party adopted its platform. The state was heavily Republican until the 1930s. Michigan made a significant contribution to the Union in the American Civil War and sent more than forty regiments of volunteers to the federal armies.
Modernizers and boosters set up systems for public education, including founding the University of Michigan (1817; moved to Ann Arbor in 1837), for a classical academic education; and Michigan State Normal School, (1849) now Eastern Michigan University, for the training of teachers. In 1899, it became the first normal college in the nation to offer a four-year curriculum. Michigan Agricultural College (1855), now Michigan State University in East Lansing, was founded as the pioneer land-grant college, a model for those authorized under the Morrill Act (1862). Many other private colleges were founded as well, and the smaller cities formed high schools late in the century.
20th and 21st centuries
Michigan's economy underwent a transformation at the turn of the 20th century. Many individuals, including Ransom E. Olds, John and Horace Dodge, Henry Leland, David Dunbar Buick, Henry Joy, Charles King, and Henry Ford, provided the concentration of engineering know-how and technological enthusiasm to start the birth of the automotive industry. Ford's development of the moving assembly line in Highland Park marked the beginning of a new era in transportation. Like the steamship and railroad, it was a far-reaching development. More than the forms of public transportation, the automobile transformed private life. It became the major industry of Detroit and Michigan, and permanently altered the socio-economic life of the United States and much of the world.
With the growth, the auto industry created jobs in Detroit that attracted immigrants from Europe and migrants from across the U.S., including those from the South. By 1920, Detroit was the fourth largest city in the U.S. Residential housing was in short supply, and it took years for the market to catch up with the population boom. By the 1930s, so many immigrants had arrived that more than 30 languages were spoken in the public schools, and ethnic communities celebrated in annual heritage festivals. Over the years immigrants and migrants contributed greatly to Detroit's diverse urban culture, including popular music trends, such as the influential Motown Sound of the 1960s led by a variety of individual singers and groups.
Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan, is also an important center of manufacturing. Since 1838, the city has also been noted for its furniture industry and is home to five of the world's leading office furniture companies. Grand Rapids is home to a number of major companies including Steelcase, Amway, and Meijer. Grand Rapids is also an important center for GE Aviation Systems.
Michigan held its first United States presidential primary election in 1910. With its rapid growth in industry, it was an important center of union industry-wide organizing, such as the rise of the United Auto Workers.
In 1920 WWJ (AM) in Detroit became the first radio station in the United States to regularly broadcast commercial programs. Throughout that decade, some of the country's largest and most ornate skyscrapers were built in the city. Particularly noteworthy are the Fisher Building, Cadillac Place, and the Guardian Building, each of which is a National Historic Landmark (NHL).
In 1927 a school bombing took place in Clinton County; the Bath School disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 38 schoolchildren, constitutes the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history.
Detroit continued to expand through the 1950s, at one point doubling its population in a decade. After World War II, housing was developed in suburban areas outside city cores; newly constructed U.S. Interstate Highways allowed commuters to navigate the region more easily. Modern advances in the auto industry have resulted in increased automation, high tech industry, and increased suburban growth since 1960.
Michigan is the leading auto-producing state in the U.S., with the industry primarily located throughout the Midwestern United States, Ontario, Canada, and the Southern United States. With almost ten million residents, Michigan is a large and influential state, ranking eighth in population among the fifty states. Detroit is the centrally located metropolitan area of the Great Lakes Megalopolis and the second largest metropolitan area in the U.S. linking the Great Lakes system.
The Metro Detroit area in Southeast Michigan is the largest metropolitan area in the state (roughly 50% of the population resides there) and the eleventh largest in the USA. The Grand Rapids metropolitan area in Western Michigan is the fastest-growing metro area in the state, with over 1.3 million residents as of 2006. Metro Detroit receives more than 15 million visitors each year. Michigan has many popular tourist destinations which include areas such as Traverse City on the Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. Tourists spend about $17 billion annually in Michigan supporting 193,000 jobs.
Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall Research & development (R&D) expenditures in the U.S. The state's leading research institutions include the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University which are important partners in the state's economy and the state's University Research Corridor. Michigan's public universities attract more than $1.5 B in research and development grants each year. Agriculture also serves a significant role making the state a leading grower of fruit in the U.S., including blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes and peaches.
Note: Michigan was part of the Northwest Territory established in 1787. When Indiana Territory was created in 1800 it included the west half of lower Michigan and nearly all of the Upper Peninsula, leaving the remainder of the present State in the Northwest Territory until 1802, when the eastern portion also became part of Indiana Territory. Michigan Territory was established in 1805, but nearly all the Upper Peninsula remained in Indiana or Illinois Territories. In 1818 Michigan Territory's boundaries were extended to include the rest of the Upper Peninsula and all of present-day Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota. In 1834 the Territory was expanded still further to stretch to the Missouri River, including the rest of Minnesota, Iowa, and the eastern Dakotas. Michigan Territory included a northern strip of Indiana until 1816, and it also governed a narrow strip of what is now northwestern Ohio which was claimed by that State. This was ceded to Ohio in 1836, and Michigan was admitted as a State on January 26, 1837 with essentially its present boundaries. In 1790 the Northwest Territory had no census coverage. In 1800 coverage of the present State included only the Detroit area (Wayne County, Northwest Territory) and some persons at "Machilamackanack," Indiana Territory. Coverage in 1810, 1820, and 1830 expanded in the Lower Peninsula and included population in the strip that was ceded to Ohio in 1836. The 1820 and 1830 censuses also included some settlements in present-day Wisconsin, shown under that State. The 1840 census covered all parts of the State.. Total for 1800 comprises population reported for Wayne County, Northwest Territory (which may have included some persons in present-day northern Ohio), and for Machilamackanack, Indiana Territory (251 persons and 300 "boatmen from Canada, &c."). Total for 1820 excludes population (1,444) of Brown and Crawford Counties, and total for 1830 excludes population (3,635) of Brown, Crawford, and Iowa Counties, all enumerated in what is now Wisconsin. Total for 1890 includes 1 Indian in prison, not reported by county.
Births, Marriages, and Deaths
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