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Michigan, US (Population: 10,095,643)

State Capitol: Lansing

Major Cities: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Flint, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Dearborn, Westland

State Nickname/Motto: Wolverine State/Great Lakes State – Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice: If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.

Statehood Granted: January 26, 1837

History: Michigan was home to various American Indians centuries before European arrival. The most populous and influential tribes were the Ottawa, the Anishnabe (called "Chippewa" in French, after their language, "Ojibwe"), and the Potawatomi. The Anishnabe, whose numbers are estimated to have been between 25,000 and 35,000, were the most populous. Although the Anishnabe were well-established in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, they 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 First Nations people in Michigan, in the south and east, were the Mascouten, the Menominee, the Miami, and the Wyandot, who are better known by their French name, "Huron".

Geography: Highest point: Mt. Arvon 1,980 feet. Michigan consists of two peninsulas that are separated by the Straits of Mackinac. The state is bounded on the south by the states of Ohio and Indiana, sharing both land and water boundaries. Michigan's western boundaries are almost entirely water boundaries, from south to north, with Illinois and Wisconsin in Lake Michigan; then a land boundary with Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, that is principally demarcated by the Menominee and Montreal rivers; then water boundaries again, in Lake Superior, with Wisconsin and Minnesota to the west, capped around by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north and east. The northern boundary then runs completely through Lake Superior, from the western boundary with Minnesota to a point north of and around Isle Royale, thence traveling southeastward through the lake in a reasonably straight line to the Sault Ste. Marie area. Windsor, Ontario, once the south bank of Detroit, Upper Canada, has the distinction of being the only part of Canada which lies to the due south of a part of the lower 48 contiguous United States. In Southeastern Michigan there is a water boundary with the Canada along the entire lengths of the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair (including the First Nation reserve of Walpole Island) and the Detroit River. The south-eastern boundary ends in the western end of Lake Erie with a three-way convergence of Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.4%), White (80.0%), Black or African American (14.0%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.6%), Asian (2.3%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race 1.5), Two or more races (1.6%), Hispanic or Latino (3.8%)*

Famous State People:

  • Madonna Louise Ciccone (1958 - ) Singer with hit singles “Material Girl,” and “Vogue.” She has also acted in such movies as A League of Their Own, and Evita; born in Bay City.
  • Francis Ford Coppola (1939 - ) Writer, producer, and director, most famous for The Godfather; born in Detroit.
  • Thomas Edison (1847 - 1931) Inventor; lived in Port Huron.

  • Gerald R. Ford (1913 - ) Became the 38th President of the United States when Richard Nixon resigned; grew up in Grand Rapids.
  • Henry Ford (1863 - 1947) Founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903; from Dearborn.
  • Daniel Gerber (1898 - 1974) Developed canned baby food in 1927.
  • Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (1658 - 1730), French colonial administrator, founder of Detroit (1701).
  • Lewis Cass (1782 - 1866), Michigan territorial governor (1813 - 1831), U. S. senator from Michigan (1845 - 1857), U. S. cabinet officer, and Democratic candidate (1848) for the U. S . presidency.
  • George Armstrong Custer (1839 - 1876) Commander of Michigan's cavalry brigade in the Civil War, later killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
  • Walter Reuther (1907 - 1970) Labor leader, president of the United Automobile Workers (1946 - 1970).
  • Earvin “Magic” Johnson (1959 - ) Basketball star that led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles in the 1980s; retired in 1991 after announcing he had the AIDS virus and now works to educate people about the disease; from Lansing.
  • Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) The first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; born in Detroit.
  • “Sugar” Ray Robinson (1921 - 1989) Boxing Champion often called the best fighter in the history of boxing; from Detroit.
  • Chris Van Allsburg (1949 - ) Writer of children’s books who won Caldecott Awards for drawings in The Polar Express and Jumanji; born in Grand Rapids.
  • Walter P. Chrysler (1875 - 1940) Industrialist who established the Chrysler Corporation.
  • Ty Cobb (1886 - 1961) Baseball star, played 22 seasons (1905 - 1926) for the Detroit Tigers.
  • Joe Louis (1914 - 1981) World heavyweight boxing champion (1937 - 1949); lived in Detroit.
  • John Harvey Kellogg (1852 - 1943) & William Keith Kellogg (1860 - 1951) Invented corn flakes and founded the Kellogg Company in 1906; brothers from Battle Creek. Tim Allen (1953 - ) Actor, famous for the T.V. series Home Improvement; grew up in Birmingham.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Adrian college, Alma College, University of Michigan System, Spring Arbor University, Ferris State University, Eastern Michigan University, Cornerstone University, Michigan State University, Lake Superior State University, Kettering University, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Concordia University, Central Michigan University

    State Parks: Aloha, Algonac, Baraga, Bewabic, Brimley, Burt Lake, Cambridge Junction Historic, Cheboygan, Clear lake, Coldwater lake, Colonial Michillmackinac, Craig lake, Dodge #4, Duck Lake, Fayette Historic, Fisherman’s Island, Fort Wilkins, Grand Haven, Grand Mere, Harrisville, Hayes, Hoeft, Hoffmaster, Holland, Indian Lake, Interlochen, Kal-Haven, Lake Gogebic, Lakeport, Leelanau, Ludington, Maybury, McLain, Mears, Muskallonge Lake, Muskegon, Negwegon, Onaway, Otsego Lake, Palms Book, Petoskey, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness, Port Crescent, Saugatuck Dunes, Seven Lakes, Sleeper, Sleepy Hollow, Sterling, Straits, Traverse City, Van Buren, Van Riper, Warren Woods, Wells, Wilderness, Wilson, Young

    Misc: Michigan has a thriving tourist industry, with destinations such as Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Ludington, Muskegon, Saugatuck, the Upper Peninsula, Frankenmuth, Grand Haven, and Detroit, drawing vacationers, hunters, and nature enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada. Although it has an urban image to non-visitors, Michigan is actually fifty percent forest land, much of it quite remote. Both the forests and thousands of miles of beaches are top attractions. Tourists also flock to many of the museums, particularly those in Metro Detroit, including The Henry Ford, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Arab American National Museum. The Metro Detroit area offers four major casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, Motor City, and Casino Windsor; moreover, Detroit is the largest city to offer casino gambling.

    *U.S. Census - 2005