World History

Michigan State History – War, Capital, Population, Facts

The land that is now Michigan has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. Ancient cultures such as the Hopewell people built large mounds that were thought to have served as burial grounds for their leaders. Eventually, these cultures were replaced by various Native American tribes.

Information about Michigan State:

Capital Lansing
Population 10,034,113 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities  Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Lansing
Borders Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota (via Lake Superior), Canada
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $620,695.6 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including cherries, blueberries, corn, soybeans, cattle, and milk
Automobile manufacturing, technology, furniture, mining (copper, iron), and tourism

Flag of Michigan State:

Native Americans

When the Europeans arrived, Michigan was inhabited by her three main tribes: the Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi. These three tribes formed a group called the “Council of Three Fires”. The Ojibwe were the largest of the three tribes and lived mainly in the Upper Peninsula. The Ottawa lived to the west and the Potawatomi to the southwest. Minor tribes included the Miami and Huron tribes.

Europeans Arrive

The first Europeans to arrive in Michigan were the French. Explorer Etienne Brulee traveled to Michigan in 1618 in search of a route to China. The French soon claimed ownership of the land and began trading furs with the local population. People called “navigators” traveled the rivers in canoes and bartered for furs and various goods, which were highly priced in Europe.

Michigan State Symbols

  • Michigan State Nickname: Great Lakes State
  • Michigan State Slogan: Great Lakes, Great Times; More To See.; (formerly) Water/Winter Wonderland; previously on its license plate
  • Michigan State Motto: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you)
  • Michigan State flower:  Apple blossom
  • Michigan State bird: American Robin
  • Michigan State fish: Brook trout
  • Michigan State tree: White Pine
  • Michigan State mammal: White-tailed deer
  • Michigan State foods: Cherry

Early Settlers

The first European settlement in Michigan was Sault Ste. Marie was founded by Father Jacques Marquette in his 1668. In 1701, Frenchman Antoine de la Motte Cadillac established a trading post at Fort Pontchartrain in Detroit. It later became the city of Detroit. After the French and Indian War of 1763, the British took control of Michigan and more Europeans began to settle in the area.

Pontiac’s Rebellion

In 1763, Native American tribes were unhappy with their land being seized by Europeans. A group of tribes united under the leadership of Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa Nation. They counterattacked the British, attacking a number of British forts and settlements. British soldiers were eventually sent to suppress the rebellion, and Pontiac was defeated.

The Geography of Michigan State:

  • Total Size of Michigan: 56,804 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Michigan: Lake Erie at 571 feet (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Michigan:  Mt. Arvon at 1,979 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Baraga (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Michigan: Located in Wexford County approx. 5 miles north-northwest of Cadillac (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Michigan: 83 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Michigan: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, St. Marys River, Grand River

Michigan Territory

In 1787, after the Revolutionary War, the United States declared Michigan part of the Northwest Territories of the United States. However, the British did not withdraw immediately, and it was not until 1796 that the British left Detroit for good. It was not until 1818 that the United States took full control of the entire Upper Peninsula. Michigan became her own territory in 1805.

War of 1812

When the War of 1812 began, Michigan was again occupied by the British. American forces attempted to retake Detroit at the Battle of Frenchtown in January 1813, but were apparently defeated. Later that year, however, American forces defeated the British at the Battle of Lake Erie and recaptured Detroit.

Becoming a State

With the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, more settlers began moving to Michigan, increasing its population. Michigan applied for statehood, and on January 26, 1837, Michigan was admitted to the Union as her 26th state. Detroit was the first capital, but moved to Lansing in 1847.

Automobile Industry

Michigan’s economy changed dramatically in the early 20th century with the invention of the automobile. Detroit’s Henry Ford has developed an assembly line and affordable Model T Ford vehicles. For most of the 20th century, Detroit was a world leader in automobile manufacturing with major automakers such as Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.

Famous People of Michigan State:

Smokey Robinson Singer
Burt Reynolds Actor
Floyd Mayweather Boxer
Madonna Singer and actress
Charles Lindbergh Aviator who flew the Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic Ocean
Magic Johnson Professional basketball player
Gerald Ford The 38th President of the United States (grew up in Michigan)
Henry Ford Founder of the Ford Motor Company
Edna Ferber Author
Kid Rock Singer
Tom Selleck Actor
Serena Williams Tennis player
Stevie Wonder Singer and songwriter

Interesting Facts of Michigan State:

Michigan borders consist of four of the five Great Lakes.

It has over 10,000 lakes and the world’s longest freshwater coastline.

The Mackinac Bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

Lake Michigan is the only Great Lakes located entirely within the United States.

Michigan is also known as Wolverine State. Home to General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, Detroit is the automotive capital of the world. It is often called Motown or Motown.

Motown Records was founded in Detroit in 1959 by Barry Gordy.

The University of Michigan was the first state university. Founded in 1817 under the name Catholepistemiad. Kellogg Cereal is headquartered in Battle Creek. Each year they host Muse Life, where the world’s longest breakfast table is set up.

No matter where you are in Michigan, you are always within 135 miles of the Great Lakes.

Timeline Overview:

1618 – French explorer Étienne Brulee arrives and claims French territory.
1668 – First European settlement is established at Sault Ste. was established. Marie.
1701 – The city of Detroit is founded.
1763 – Britain gains control of Michigan after winning the French and Indian War.
1763 – Local Indian tribes unite to fight the British in Pontiac’s Rebellion.
1787 – Michigan becomes part of the Northwest Territories.
1796 – The British leave Detroit for good.
1812 – The War of 1812 begins and Britain recaptures Detroit.
1813 – Americans win the Battle of Lake Erie and recapture Michigan and Detroit.
1825 – The Erie Canal opens, making travel to Michigan easier.
1837 – Michigan becomes the 26th state.
1847 – Lansing becomes the capital.
1903 – Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company.
1908 – General Motors is founded.
1935 – The National Auto Workers Union is formed.
1959 – Motown Records is founded by Berry Gordy.
2013 – City of Detroit files for bankruptcy.