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|State of Michigan|
|Official language(s)||None (English, de-facto)|
|- Total||97,990 sq mi
|- Width||239 miles (385 km)|
|- Length||491 miles (790 km)|
|- % water||41.5|
|- Latitude||41°41'N to 47°30'N|
|- Longitude||82°26'W to 90°31'W|
|- Total (2000)||9,938,444|
|- Density||179/sq mi
|- Median income||$44,627 (21st)|
|- Highest point||Mount Arvon
1,979 ft (603 m)
|- Mean||902 ft (275 m)|
|- Lowest point||Lake Erie
571 ft (174 m)
|Admission to Union||January 26, 1837 (26th)|
|Governor||Jennifer Granholm (D)|
|U.S. Senators||Carl Levin (D)
Debbie Stabenow (D)
|- most of state||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
|- 4 U.P. counties||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Michigan (IPA: /ˈmɪ.ʃə.gən/) is a Midwestern state of the United States of America, located in the east north central portion of the country. It was named after Lake Michigan, whose name was a French adaptation of the Ojibwe term mishigami, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
Bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair, Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the United States, the ninth longest total shoreline (including island shorelines), and in 2005 had more registered recreational boats than any state except California and Florida. A person in Michigan is never more than 85 miles (137 km) from open Great Lakes water and is never more than 6 miles (10 km) from a natural water source.
Michigan is the only bi-peninsular state. The Lower Peninsula of Michigan, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is sometimes dubbed "the mitten," owing to its shape. When asked where in Michigan one comes from, a resident of the Lower Peninsula may often point to the corresponding part of his or her hand. The Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Upper Peninsula (whose residents are often called "Yoopers") is economically important for tourism and its natural resources.
The Upper and Lower Peninsulas are connected by the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge, which is the third longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the world. This is the source of the name "trolls" for residents of the Lower Peninsula, for they live "under" (south of) the bridge. The Great Lakes that border Michigan are Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Michigan also abuts Lake Saint Clair, which is between Lake Erie and Lake Huron.
- See also: Timeline of Michigan history
Michigan was home to various Native Americans centuries before colonization by Europeans. When the first European explorers arrived, the most populous and influential tribes were Algonquian peoples—specifically, the Ottawa, the Anishnabe (called "Chippewa" in French, after their language, "Ojibwe"), and the Potawatomi. The Anishnabe were the most populous, estimated at between 25,000 and 35,000 within Michigan, where they were located throughout in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. The Anishabe also lived in 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".
French voyageurs explored and settled in Michigan in the 17th century. The first Europeans to reach what later became Michigan were Étienne Brûlé's expedition in 1622. The first European settlement was made in 1641 on the site where Father (or Père, in French) Jacques Marquette established Sault Sainte-Marie in 1668.
Saint-Ignace was founded in 1671, and Marquette in 1675. Together with Sault Sainte-Marie, they are the three oldest cities in Michigan. "The Soo" (Sault Ste. Marie) has the distinction of being the oldest city in both Michigan and Ontario. It was split into two cities in 1818, a year after the U.S.-Canada boundary in the Great Lakes was finally established by the U.S.-UK Joint Border Commission.
In 1679, Lord La Salle of France directed the construction of the Griffin, the first European sailing vessel on the upper Great Lakes. That same year, La Salle built Fort Miami at present-day St. Joseph.
In 1701, French explorer and army officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Le Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit or “Fort Ponchartrain on-the-Strait” on the strait between Lakes St. Clair and Erie, known as the Detroit River. 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 repel British aspirations.
The hundred soldiers and workers who accompanied Cadillac built a fort enclosing one arpent (about .85 acre, the equivalent of just under 200 feet on a side) and named it Fort Pontchartrain. Cadillac's wife, Marie Thérèse, soon moved to Detroit, becoming one of the first white women to settle in the Michigan wilderness. The town quickly became a major fur-trading and shipping post. The “Église de Saint-Anne,” or Church of Saint Ann, was founded the same year, and while the original building does not survive, it remains an active congregation today. At the same time, the French strengthened Fort Michilimackinac at the Straits of Mackinac in order to better control their lucrative fur-trading empire. By the mid-eighteenth century, the French had also occupied forts at present-day Niles and Sault Ste. Marie. However, most of the rest of the region remained unsettled by whites.
From 1660 to the end of French rule, Michigan (along with Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, two-thirds of Georgia, and small parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and Maine) was part of the Royal Province of New France, administered from the capital city of Québec. In 1759, following the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in the French and Indian War (1754–1763), Québec City fell to British forces. Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Michigan and the rest of New France passed to Great Britain.
Detroit was an important British supply center during the American Revolutionary War, but most of the inhabitants - almost all of them - were either Aboriginal people or French Canadians. Because of imprecise cartography and unclear language defining the boundaries in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, the British retained control of Detroit and Michigan. When Quebec was split into Lower and Upper Canada in 1790, Michigan was part of Kent County, Upper Canada, and held its first democratic elections in August 1792, to send delegates to the new provincial parliament at Newark, (Now Niagara-on-the-Lake). Under terms negotiated in the 1794 Jay Treaty, Britain withdrew from Detroit and Michilimackinac in 1796. However, questions remained over the boundary for many years and the United States did not have uncontested control of the Upper Peninsula and Drummond Island until 1818 and 1847, respectively.
During the War of 1812, Michigan Territory (effectively consisting of Detroit and the surrounding area) was captured by the British and nominally returned to Upper Canada until the Treaty of Ghent, which implemented the policy of "Status Quo Ante Bellum" or "Just as Things Were Before the War." That meant Michigan stayed American, and the agreement to establish a joint U.S.-UK boundary commission also remained valid. Subsequent to the findings of that commission in 1817, control of the Upper Peninsula and of islands in the St. Clair River delta was transferred from Ontario to Michigan in 1818, and Drummond Island (to which the British had moved their Michilimackinac army base) was transferred in 1847.
The population grew slowly until the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which brought a large influx of settlers. By the 1830s, Michigan had some 80,000 residents, which was more than enough to apply for statehood. A state government was formed in 1836, although Congressional recognition of the state languished because of a boundary dispute with Ohio, with both sides claiming a 468 square mile (1,210 km²) strip of land that included the newly incorporated city of Toledo on Lake Erie and an area to the west then known as the "Great Black Swamp." The dispute came to be called the Toledo War, with Michigan and Ohio militia maneuvering in the area but never coming to blows. Ultimately, Congress awarded the "Toledo Strip" to Ohio, and Michigan, having received the western part of the Upper Peninsula as a concession, formally entered the Union on January 26, 1837.
Thought to be useless at the time, the Upper Peninsula was soon discovered to be a rich and important source of lumber, iron, and copper, which would become the state's most sought-after natural resources. Geologist Douglass Houghton and land surveyor William Austin Burt were among the first to document and discover many of these resources, which led to a nation-wide increase of interest in the state.
Michigan's economy underwent a massive change at the turn of the 20th century. The birth of the automotive industry, with Henry Ford's first plant in the Highland Park enclave of Detroit, marked the beginning of a new era in transportation. It was a development that not only transformed Detroit and Michigan, but permanently altered the socio-economic climate of the United States and much of the world. Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan, is also a center of automotive manufacturing. Since 1838, the city had also been noted for its thriving furniture industry (which has since declined substantially).
 1900s to the present
In 1910 Michigan held its first primary election.
In 1920 Detroit’s WWJ begins commercial broadcasting of regular programs, the first such radio station in the United States.
Detroit boomed through the 1950s, at one point doubling its population in a decade. In the 1920s some of the country's largest and most ornate skyscrapers were built in the city. Housing shortages and racial tension led to outward movement starting after World War II. After the 1950s, with suburban sprawl prevalent across the country, Detroit's population began to decline, and the rate increased after further racial strife in the 1960s and high crime rates in the 70s and 80s. Government programs such as road-building often enabled the sprawl.
Since the 1970s, Michigan's industrial base has eroded as the auto industry began to abandon the state's industrial parks in favor of less expensive labor found overseas and in the southern U.S. states. Nevertheless, with more than 10 million residents, Michigan continues to grow and remains a large and influential state, ranking eighth in population among the 50 states.
The Detroit metropolitan area in the southeast corner of the state remains the largest metropolitan area in Michigan (roughly 50% of the population resides there) and one of the 10 largest metro areas in the country. The Grand Rapids/Holland/Muskegon metro area on the west side of the state is the fastest growing metro area in the state presently, with over 1.3 million residents as of 2006.
Metro Detroit's population is now growing very little, and Detroit's population is still shrinking, though strong redevelopment in central part of the cities, and a significant rise in population in the southwest part of the city, is contributing to some population inflow. A period of economic transition, especially in manufacturing, has caused this region's economy to perform worse than the national average for many several years.
 Law and Politics
- See also: List of Michigan Governors, List of United States Senators from Michigan, and List of United States Representatives from Michigan
Lansing is the state capital and is home to all three branches of state government. The Michigan State Capitol building hosts the executive and legislative branches. The chief executive is the Governor, currently Jennifer Granholm. The legislative branch consists of the bicameral Michigan Legislature, with a House of Representatives and Senate. The Michigan legislature is a full-time legislature. The Supreme Court of Michigan sits with seven justices. The Constitution of Michigan of 1963 provides for voter initiative and referendum (Article II, § 9, defined as "the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws, called the initiative, and the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature, called the referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws which the legislature may enact under this constitution").
Michigan's state universities are immune from control by the legislature, the governor and most aspects of the executive branch, and the cities in or near which they are located; but they are not immune from the authority of the courts. Some degree of political control is exercised as the legislature approves appropriations for the schools. Further, the governor appoints the board of trustees of most state universities with the advice and consent of the state Senate; only the trustees of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University are chosen in general elections.
Michigan was the first state in the Union, as well as the first English-speaking government in the world, to abolish the death penalty, in 1846. David G. Chardavoyne has suggested that the abolitionist movement in Michigan grew as a result of enmity towards the state's neighbor, Canada, which under British rule made public executions a regular practice.
The Republican Party dominated Michigan until the Great Depression. In 1912, Michigan was one of the few states to support progressive third party candidate Theodore Roosevelt for President after he lost the Republican nomination to William Howard Taft. In recent years, the state has leaned toward the Democratic Party in national elections. Michigan has supported Democrats in the last four presidential elections. In 2004, John Kerry carried the state over George W. Bush, winning Michigan's 17 electoral votes with 51.2% of the vote. Democrats have won each of the last three, and nine of the last ten, US Senate elections in Michigan. Republican strength is greatest in the western, northern, and rural parts of the state, especially in the Grand Rapids area. Democrats are strongest in the east, especially in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, and Saginaw.
 Administrative Divisions
 County government
State government is decentralized among three tiers — statewide, county and township. Counties are administrative divisions of the state, and townships are administrative divisions of a county. Both of them exercise state government authority, localized to meet the particular needs of their jurisdictions, as provided by state law. There are 83 counties in Michigan.
 Local and Municipal government
Cities, state universities, and villages are vested with home rule powers of varying degrees. Home rule cities can generally do anything that is not prohibited by law. The fifteen state universities have broad power and can do anything within the parameters of their status as educational institutions that is not prohibited by the state constitution. Villages, by contrast, have limited home rule, in that they are not completely autonomous from the county and township in which they are located.
There are two types of township in Michigan: general law township and charter. Charter township status was created by the Legislature in 1947 and grants additional powers and stream-lined administration in order to provide greater protection against annexation by a city. As of April 2001, there were 127 charter townships in Michigan. In general, charter townships have many of the same powers as a city but without the same level of obligations. For example, a charter township can have its own fire department, water & sewage department, police department, and so on—just like a city—but it is not required to have those things, whereas cities must provide those services. Charter townships can opt to use county-wide services instead, such as deputies from the county sheriff's office instead of a home-based force of ordinance officers.
Michigan consists of two peninsulas that lie between 82°30' to about 90º30' west longitude, and 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 with both. 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 travelling 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.
Michigan encompasses 58,110 square miles (150,504 km²) of land, 38,575 square miles (99,909 km²) of Great Lakes waters and 1,305 square miles (3,380 km²) of inland waters. Only the state of Alaska has more territorial water. After Michigan is third ranked Florida which has 11,827.77 square miles (30,633.8 km²). At a total of 97,990 square miles (253,793 km²), Michigan is the largest state east of the Mississippi River (inclusive of its territorial waters). It is the 10th largest state in the Union. Michigan claims a land area of 58,110 square miles of land and 97,990 sq mi total, making it the tenth largest state, but the U.S. Census Bureau claims only 56,803.82 sq mi of land and 96,716.11 sq mi total, making it the 11th largest. </ref>
The heavily forested Upper Peninsula is relatively mountainous in the west. The Porcupine Mountains, which are the oldest mountains in North America, rise to an altitude of almost 2,000 feet above sea level and form the watershed between the streams flowing into Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The surface on either side of this range is rugged. The state's highest point, in the Huron Mountains northwest of Marquette, is Mount Arvon at 1,979 feet (603 m). The peninsula is as large as Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island combined, but has less than 330,000 inhabitants, who are sometimes called "Yoopers" (from "U.P.'ers") and whose speech (the "Yooper dialect") has been heavily influenced by the large number of Scandinavian and Canadian immigrants who settled the area during the mining boom of the late 1800s.