Michigan - The Wolverine State

  • The Detroit skyline
  • Shiawasee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Sylvania Wilderness
  • Yellow Dog Falls
The Michigan State Capitol building

Michigan was home to Native American tribes since the last Ice Age. When the first Europeans arrived, most of present-day Michigan was in the hands of the Potawatomi, the Ottawa and the Chippewa. The three tribes got along peacefully as part of the loose "Council of Three Fires" confederation.

The first Europeans on the scene were with French explorer Étienne Brûlé in 1622, but the first settlement waited for Father Jacques Marquette to arrive at Sault Sainte-Marie in 1668. Saint Ignace was founded in 1671 and the settlement of Marquette began in 1675. Fort Detroit was founded on the Detroit River in 1701 by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, on the strait between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. Michigan was part of France's fur trade empire until 1763, when the Treaty of Paris (ending the Seven Years War in europe and the French and Indian War in North America) gave all of France's territory east of the Mississippi River to Great Britain.

Great Britain held onto Michigan until 1796 when they withdrew from the area under the terms of the 1794 Jay Treaty. However, ownership of the Upper Peninsula was contested until 1818. Mackinac Island continued to be held by the British until 1847.

The population of Michigan began to seriously rise after New York's Erie Canal opened for business in 1825. Agriculture took off when it became possible to ship crops to the Eastern cities over the Great Lakes-Erie Canal-Hudson River route. By the 1830's, Michigan had more than 80,000 residents, more than enough to qualify for statehood. The citizens formed a state government in 1836 but couldn't get recognition from Congress until a border dispute with Ohio was resolved. There was a 480-square-mile piece of land around Toledo that both states wanted. Each territory called out their militias and had the men maneuvering in the area but a shooting war never did get started. Congress finally gave the "Toledo Strip" to Ohio and gave the western part of the Upper Peninsula to Michigan. Michigan formally became a state on January 26, 1837.

Pointe Mouillee State Game Area
Pointe Mouillee State Game Area
Fast Facts about Michigan
Capital: Lansing
Largest City: Detroit
Admitted to the Union: January 26, 1837 : 26th
Area: 97,990 square miles : 11th
Highest Point: Mount Arvon : 1,979'
Lowest Point: Lake Erie : 571'
2010 Michigan Population Demographics
Total Population 9,883,640
Males 4,848,114
Females 5,035,526
Population by Age
Under 18 2,344,068
18 & over 7,539,572
20-24 669,072
25-34 1,164,149
35-49 2,022,555
50-64 2,017,449
65 & over 1,361,530
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 436,358
Non Hispanic or Latino 9,447,282
Population by Race
White 7,803,120
African-American 1,400,362
Asian 238,199
Native American 62,007
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 2,604
Other 147,029
Two or more 230,319
Map of Michigan