The state of Michigan is located in the upper Midwest region of the United States. ‘Large water’ or ‘large lake’ is its meaning, a gallicized variant of the original Ojibwe word. Michigan has a population of nearly 10.1 million and an area of almost 97,000 sq mi (250,000 km2). It is the 10th-largest state by population, the 11th-largest by area, and the largest east of the Mississippi River. The state’s capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Detroit is one of the nation’s largest and most populous metropolitan economies.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT MICHIGAN
- Capital City: Lansing
- Largest City: Detroit
- Nickname: The Wolverine State, The Great Lake State
- Statehood: 1837; 26th state
- Population (as of 2019): 9.987 million
- Abbreviation: MI
- State bird: American robin
- State flower: apple blossom
- Total Size Of The State: 96,716 sq mi (250,493 km2)
It is estimated that at least 12,000 years of human habitation have taken place on the land now called Michigan. Several Native American tribes lived on the land hundreds of years after those first settlers arrived, including the Kickapoo, Miami, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Menominee, and Fox and Sauk. Michigan is still home to eleven Native American tribes.
The area was discovered by French explorers around 1618. French control of the land lasted until the French and Indian War, between 1754 and 1763 when England defeated France.
In 1805, Michigan became part of the United States. (Many Native Americans fought with France against England.) The Erie Canal made travel across the country much easier around 1825, which led to an influx of settlers. Michigan was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1837.
Among the first cars built in Detroit were those produced by Ransom E. Olds (as in Oldsmobile) and Henry Ford before 1900.
Why Does It Have That Name?
Experts don’t know how Michigan got its name, but it might be derived from Lake Michigan, which has a Native American name that means “big lake.”
There is disagreement among experts about why Michigan is known as the Wolverine State… even though only a few Wolverines live there.
According to one theory, fur traders exchanged animal pelts in Michigan, including wolverine pelts. There is also an 1835 land skirmish with Ohio that may have contributed to the exchange. The Ohio residents insulted their Michigan neighbours by calling them “wolverines”.
Geographic Features and Landforms
Michigan shares borders with the four Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Erie. That is why it is often called the Great Lakes State. Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin border the state in the south, and the Great Lakes and Canada border the state in the east, north, and west. Michigan is also the only U.S. state divided into two large chunks: the Upper Peninsula in the north and the Lower Peninsula—also known as “the mitten”—in the south. The Mackinac Bridge connects them.
Forests and low hills cover the Upper Peninsula. The highest point in the state is Mount Arvon, but even that is only 1,979 feet.
There are some hills in the north of the Lower Peninsula, but most of it is flat. Additionally, the state boasts thousands of miles of shoreline, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which offers stunning views of Lake Michigan from 400-foot dunes.
The state has more water than any other state – more than 40 per cent. In addition, there are several islands in Michigan, including Isle Royale, a national park in the middle of Lake Superior.
The Natural World
Many species of animals live in Michigan, including the state animal, the white-tailed deer. In addition, Elk and moose, once wiped out by hunters, are making comebacks after herds were relocated from Wyoming and Canada, respectively.
Also found in Michigan are 360 different bird species, including Kirtland’s warblers. Michigan is also home to raptors such as ospreys, short-eared owls, peregrine falcons, and many water birds such as trumpeter swans and great blue herons.
Reptiles sloping and creeping through the state include red-bellied snakes, spiny softshell turtles, and five-lined skinks. Michigan’s amphibians include marbled salamanders, bullfrogs, and green frogs.
Over half the state is covered in forests, including white pine (the state tree), American mountain ash, boxelder, sugar maple, and red mulberry.
Many wildflowers grow in the Wolverine State, including Michigan rose, orange coneflower, evening primrose (check it out blooming at night! ), and a yellow monkeyflower.
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the United States, with a 3,288-mile coastline. As 90 per cent of the Upper Peninsula is covered in trees, the forest industry is also essential. In addition to iron oxide pigments, the state also produces red, orange, yellow, and black pigments used in makeup.
Some Fun Facts About Michigan
Legendary musicians such as Madonna, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder; tennis player Serena Williams; and pilot Charles Lindbergh were all born in Michigan.
The Motown Records label was established in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959 (the name came from the combination of “motor” and “town,” as the city was a major auto manufacturing center at the time). The record label produced music by the Temptations, Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and many others. Visitors can visit the Motown Museum, where much of this music was recorded.
Corn Flakes were invented in Battle Creek in 1898. In an attempt to make granola, the Kellogg brothers made flakes instead.
There are many examples of American genius at the Henry Ford Museum. Thomas Edison’s laboratory, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and even Rosa Parks’ bus are on display.