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The state 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.
The area was first settled by Native American tribes and later colonized by French explorers in the 17th century and became part of New France.
The Ottawa lived primarily south of the Straits of Mackinac in northern, western and southern Michigan, but also in southern Ontario, northern Ohio and eastern Wisconsin, while the Potawatomi were in southern and western Michigan, in addition to northern and central Indiana, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and southern Ontario.
Other Algonquian tribes in Michigan, in the south and east, were the Mascouten, the Menominee, the Miami, the Sac (or Sauk), and the Fox, and the non-Algonquian Wyandot, who are better known by their French name, the Huron.
Michigan's capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas.
The Ojibwe, whose numbers are estimated to have been between 25,000 and 35,000, were the largest.
The state's name, Michigan, is of French origins (form of the Ojibwe word) mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
In 1679, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle built Fort Miami at present-day St. In 1691, the French established a trading post and Fort St. 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), the equivalent of just under 200 feet (61 m) per side) and named it Fort Pontchartrain.
In 1805, the Michigan Territory was formed, and in 1837 was admitted into the Union as the 26th state.
It soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular immigrant destination.