(If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)
Michigan (IPA: /ˈmɪ.ʃə.gən/, roughly MISH-uh-gun)) 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". 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.
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 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 lead the nation in lumber production from 1850's to the 1880's.
Michigan made a significant contribution to the Union in the American Civil War, sending over forty regiments of volunteers to the Federal armies.
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).
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 several years.
1900s to the present
See also: List of Michigan Governors, List of United States Senators from Michigan, and List of United States Representatives from Michigan
Law and Politics
Lansing is the state capital and is home to all three branches of state government. The Michigan State Capitol was dedicated in 1879 and has hosted the state's executive and legislative branches ever since. The chief executive is the Governor, and Jennifer Granholm currently holds the office. The legislative branch consists of the bicameral Michigan Legislature, with a House of Representatives and Senate. The Michigan legislature is a full-time legislature, though some representatives have voiced concerns about the long hours disrupting their home lives and wish to make the job part-time. The Supreme Court of Michigan sits with seven justices. The Constitution of Michigan of 1963 provides for voter initiative and referendum (Article II, § 9,
The Executive Branch of the State of Michigan has several Departments or agencies :
State of Michigan Departments
Michigan Department of Agriculture
Michigan Attorney General
Michigan Civil Rights
Michigan Civil Service
Michigan Community Health
Michigan Environmental Quality
Michigan History, Arts and Libraries
Michigan Human Services
Michigan Department of Information Technology
Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth
Michigan Management and Budget
Michigan Military and Veterans Affairs
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Secretary of State
Michigan Michigan State Police
Michigan Department of Transportation
Michigan Treasury Law
The Republican Party dominated Michigan until the Great Depression. In 1912, Michigan was one of the few states to support progressive Republican and 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. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, also a Democrat, recently won a second term, beating out Republican candidate Dick DeVos. 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.
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.
See also: Administrative divisions of Michigan, List of Michigan county seats, and List of counties in Michigan
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.
See also: Administrative divisions of Michigan and List of municipalities in Michigan (by population)
Local and Municipal government
See also: Protected areas of Michigan and List of Michigan state parks
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, (which is Michigans only National Park), 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). 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.
The Lower Peninsula, shaped like a mitten, is 277 miles (446 km) long from north to south and 195 miles (314 km) from east to west and occupies nearly two-thirds of the state's land area. The surface of the peninsula is generally level, broken by conical hills and glacial moraines usually not more than a few hundred feet tall. It is divided by a low water divide running north and south. The larger portion of the state is on the west of this and gradually slopes toward Lake Michigan. The highest point in the Lower Peninsula is not definitely established but is either Briar Hill at 1,705 feet (520 m), or one of several points nearby in the vicinity of Cadillac. The lowest point is the surface of Lake Erie at 571 feet (174 m).
The geographic orientation of Michigan's peninsulas make for a long distance between the ends of the state. Ironwood, in the far western Upper Peninsula, lies 630 highway miles (1,015 km) from the Toledo, Ohio suburb of Lambertville in the Lower Peninsula's southeastern corner. The geographic isolation of the Upper Peninsula from Michigan's political and population centers makes it culturally and economically distinct, and the feeling that Lansing and Detroit do not care about the U.P. has led to occasional calls for secession from Michigan and admission as a new state called "Superior."
There are numerous lakes and marshes in both peninsulas, and the coast is much indented. Keweenaw, Whitefish, and the Big and Little Bays De Noc are the principal indentations on the Upper Peninsula, while the Grand and Little Traverse, Thunder, and Saginaw bays indent the Lower Peninsula. After Alaska, Michigan has the longest shoreline of any state—3,288 miles (5,326 km). An additional 1,056 miles (1,699 km) can be added if islands are included. This roughly equals the length of the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida. The state has numerous large islands, the principal ones being the Manitou, Beaver, and Fox groups in Lake Michigan; Isle Royale and Grande Isle in Lake Superior; Marquette, Bois Blanc, and Mackinac Islands in Lake Huron; and Neebish, Sugar, and Drummond Islands in St. Mary's River (see also Islands of Michigan).
The state's rivers are small, short and shallow, and few are navigable. The principal ones include the Au Sable, Thunder Bay, Cheboygan, and Saginaw, all of which flow into Lake Huron; the Ontonagon, and Tahquamenon, which flow into Lake Superior; and the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand, and Escanaba, which flow into Lake Michigan. (See List of Michigan rivers). The state has 11,037 inland lakes and 38,575 square miles (62,067 km) of Great Lakes waters and rivers and 1,305 square miles of inland water on top of that. No point in Michigan is more than 6 miles (10 km) from an inland lake or more than 85 miles (137 km) from one of the Great Lakes.
Detroit is the only major city in the United States from which one must travel southward to cross the border into Canada. Metropolitan Detroit/Ann Arbor/Flint/Windsor is also the world's largest international metropolitan area.
The state is home to one national park: Isle Royale National Park. Other national protected areas in the state include: Keweenaw National Historical Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Father Marquette National Memorial. The North Country National Scenic Trail also passes through Michigan. Michigan also has the largest state park system of any state.
Michigan has a humid continental climate throughout the state, although there are two distinct regions. The southern and central parts of the Lower Peninsula (south of Saginaw Bay and from the Grand Rapids area southward) has a warmer climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa) with hot, humid summers and cold, but shorter winters. The northern part of Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula has a more severe climate (Koppen Dfb), with warm, humid but shorter summers and long, cold to very cold winters. Some parts of the state averaging high temperatures below freezing from December through February, and into early March in the far northern parts. During the late fall through the middle of February the state is frequently subjected to heavy lake effect snow. The state receives a good amount of precipitation throughout the year, averaging from 30-40 inches (750-1000 mm) annually. Typically, from December through March is slightly drier, while July through September is slightly wetter than the rest of the year, although this difference isn't extreme as in some other states.
The entire state averages around 30 days of thunderstorm activity per year, and these can be severe, especially the further south in the state one goes. The state averages 17 tornadoes a year, and these are much more common in the extreme southern portion of the state with portions of the southern border nearly as vulnerable historically as parts of Tornado alley. Further north, in the Upper Peninsula, tornadoes are rare, but have occurred.
The geological formation of the state is greatly varied. Primary boulders are found over the entire surface of the Upper Peninsula (being principally of primitive origin), while Secondary deposits cover the entire Lower Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula exhibits Lower Silurian sandstones, limestones, copper and iron bearing rocks, corresponding to the Huronian system of Canada. The central portion of the Lower Peninsula contains coal measures and rocks of the Permo-Carboniferous period. Devonian and sub-Carboniferous deposits are scattered over the entire state.
The soil is of a varied composition and in large areas is very fertile, especially in the south. However, the Upper Peninsula for the most part is rocky and mountainous, and the soil is unsuitable for agriculture. The climate is tempered by the proximity of the lakes and is much milder than in other locales with the same latitude. The principal forest trees include basswood, maple, elm, sassafras, butternut, walnut, poplar, hickory, oak, willow, pine, birch, beech, hemlock, witchhazel, tamarack, cedar, locust, dogwood, and ash.
The religious affiliations of the people of Michigan are:
Christian – 82%
- Protestant – 58%
- Baptist – 15%
Methodist – 10%
Pentecostal – 7%
Lutheran – 5%
Reformed – 4%
United Church of Christ – 3%
Church of Christ – 2%
Other Protestant – 12%
Catholic – 23%
Other Christian – 1%
Muslim – 2%
Jewish – 1%
Other Religions – <1%
Non-Religious – 15% Religion
See also: List of companies based in Michigan and Economy of metropolitan Detroit
The Michigan economy leads in information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, including 70,000 in the automotive industry.
- Baptist – 15%