State of the Month: Michigan
Bordered by four of the five Great Lakes and home to over 11,000 inland lakes, the unique Great Lakes state is nearly half comprised of water. Keeping this in mind, it may come at no surprise that Michigan’s name stems from michi-gama, the Native American Ojibwa word for “large lake.”
Michigan was first inhabited by the Ojibwa and many other Native American tribes including the Huron, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Chippewa, and additional Algonquian-speaking groups. After French explorer Étienne Brulé came upon the territory in 1622, the French began settling in the land in 1668 and later founded Fort Pontchartrain, or present-day Detroit.
Michigan is the only state divided into two land masses: the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
The mineral-rich Upper Peninsula is home to swamps and limestone hills on the east and majestic forested mountains to the west. The Lower Peninsula is where the majority of Michigan’s cities are located, such as the capital, Lansing, and Detroit, the largest city and the birthplace of Ford Motor Company. The two are connected by the Mackinac Bridge, a five-mile suspension bridge that was dedicated as the world’s largest at its 1957 opening.
Home to some of the most iconic brands and styles in American culture, Detroit was the original state capital. Yes, Lansing gets to claim that title now, but the Motor City will alway be the first home of classic cars and motown.