A Field Guide to State History

Book - 2005
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Bounded by four of the five Great Lakes-Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior-Michigan boasts the largest freshwater shoreline in the world. No matter where you stand in Michigan you're never more than six miles from a lake or river. So it comes as no surprise that Michigan took its name from the Chippewa word michi-gama, meaning "great waters." This lush and fertile region attracted Native Americans from as early as 500 BC. The Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes who settled here found Michigan to be the perfect base for hunting, fishing, and trapping, as well as for growing corn, beans, and squash. Rich in natural resources, Michigan was an equally enticing prospect for the first European explorers. Following the arrival of Etienne Brule and Jean Nicolet, Michigan was colonized shortly afterwards by the French, who established forts, trading posts, and missions. The British wrested control from the French in 1763 and were in turn defeated by the U.S. Army in 1796. In 1837 Michigan was admitted to the United States as the 26th state in the union. Throughout the 1800s, Michigan drew European settlers eager to profit from its thriving fur trade, fertile farmlands, timber-laden forests, and copper and iron mines. In the 20th century the auto industry became one of Michigan's major sources of employment for newly arrived immigrants. Detroit, known as the Motor City, helped Michigan play a vital role in the development of the automobile. Ransom E. Olds, Walter Chrysler, and Henry Ford revolutionized the mass production of automobiles and made Michigan the center of America's automobile manufacturing. Despite a bumpy economic ride, car production continues to be one of the state's primary industries. Michigan has its fair share of famous names, among them former President Gerald Ford, singer Madonna, baseball legend Ty Cobb, inventor Elijah ("the real") McCoy, and the Kellogg brothers. Berry Gordy's Motown Records in Detroit produced some of the most famous black pop acts of all time, including Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Stevie Wonder. Michigan's verdant forests, breathtaking scenery, and abundant lakes and streams continue to contribute to the state's commercial success, while offering its inhabitants a high quality of life. As the state motto says: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."
Publisher: London : PRC, c2005.
ISBN: 9781856487306
Branch Call Number: 977.4 Alloy
Characteristics: 256 p. : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 29 cm.


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