Michigan

MICHIGAN

Michigan 1718

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Michigan ( /ˈmɪʃɪɡən/) is a state located 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”.[1][lower-alpha 2] Michigan is the 9th most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area. Its capital is Lansing, and the largest city is Detroit. Michigan was admitted into the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state.

Michigan 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.[5] Michigan is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating.[6] The state has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds.[7] A person in the state is never more than 6 miles (9.7 km) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.[8] It is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River.[lower-alpha 3]

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 5-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. 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.

History

When the first European explorers arrived, the most populous tribes were Algonquian peoples, which include the Ottawa, the Ojibwe or Anishnaabeg (called Chippewa in French), and the Potawatomi. The Anishnaabeg, whose numbers are estimated to have been between 25,000 and 35,000, were the largest.

The Anishnaabeg were established in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan, and also inhabited northern Ontario, northern Wisconsin, southern Manitoba, and northern and north-central Minnesota. The Ottawa lived primarily south of the Straits of Mackinac in northern and western Michigan, while the Potawatomi were primarily in the southwest. The three nations co-existed peacefully as part of a loose confederation called the Council of Three Fires. Other tribes in Michigan, in the south and east, were the Mascouten, the Menominee, the Miami, the Sac (or Sauk), the Fox, and the Wyandot, who are better known by their French name, the Huron.

17th century

Pere Marquette

Père Marquette and the Indians (1869), Wilhelm Lamprecht

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.[9] 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.

18th century

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[10][11] (about 0.85 acres (3,440 m2), the equivalent of just under 200 feet (61 m) 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 between the Meskwaki (Fox) and their allies and 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.

From 1660 to the end of French rule, Michigan was part of the Royal Province of New France.[lower-alpha 4] In 1759, following the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the French and Indian War (1754–1763), Québec City fell to British forces. This marked Britain’s victory in the Seven Years War. Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Michigan and the rest of New France east of the Mississippi River passed to Great Britain.[12]

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 1790, 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).[13]

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.

19th century

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.

Hauling at Thomas Foster's, by Jenney, J A (detail)

Lumbering pines in the late 1800s

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.

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