Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa wordmishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". Michigan is the ninth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area (the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River[c]). Its capital isLansing, and the largest city is Detroit.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often noted to be shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. The state has the longest freshwatercoastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. As a result, it is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating. Michigan also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds, and a person in the state is never more than six miles (9.7 km) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.
What is now Michigan was first settled by various Native American tribes before being colonized by French explorers in the 17th century and becoming a part of New France. After the defeat of France in the French and Indian War in 1762 the region came under British rule, and was finally ceded to the newly independent United States after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was organized as part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Eventually, in 1805, the Michigan Territory was formed, which lasted until it was admitted into the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state. The state of Michigan soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular immigrant destination.
Though Michigan has come to develop a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, being home to the country'sthree major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all located within the Detroit metropolitan area). While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is economically important due to its status as a tourist destination as well as its abundance of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, services, and high-tech industry.
State of Michigan
|Nickname(s): The Great Lake State, The Wolverine State, The Mitten State, Water (Winter) Wonderland|
|Motto(s): Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice
(English: If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)
A wide variety of commodity crops, fruits, and vegetables are grown in Michigan, making it second only to California among U.S. states in the diversity of its agriculture. The state has 55,000 farms utilizing 10,000,000 acres (40,000 km2) of land which sold $6.6 billion worth of products in 2008. The most valuable agricultural product is milk. Leading crops include corn, soybeans, flowers, wheat, sugar beets and potatoes. Livestock in the state included 1 million cattle, 1 million hogs, 78,000 sheep and over 3 million chickens. Livestock products accounted for 38% of the value of agricultural products while crops accounted for the majority.
Michigan is a leading grower of fruit in the U.S., including blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes, and peaches. Plums, pears, and strawberries are also grown. These fruits are mainly grown in West Michigan due to the moderating effect of Lake Michigan on the climate. There is also significant fruit production, especially cherries, but also grapes, apples, and other fruits, in Northwest Michigan along Lake Michigan. Michigan produces wines, beers and a multitude of processed food products. Kellogg's cereal is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and processes many locally grown foods. Thornapple Valley,Ball Park Franks, Koegel Meat Company, and Hebrew National sausage companies are all based in Michigan.
Michigan is home to very fertile land in the Flint/Tri-Cities and "Thumb" areas. Products grown there include corn, sugar beets, navy beans, and soy beans. Sugar beet harvesting usually begins the first of October. It takes the sugar factories about five months to process the 3.7 million tons of sugarbeets into 970 million pounds of pure, white sugar. Michigan's largest sugar refiner, Michigan Sugar Company is the largest east of the Mississippi River and the fourth largest in the nation. Michigan Sugar brand names are Pioneer Sugar and the newly incorporated Big Chief Sugar. Potatoes are grown in Northern Michigan, and corn is dominant in Central Michigan. Alfalfa, cucumbers, and asparagus are also grown.
Michigan's tourists spend $17.2 billion per year in the state, supporting 193,000 tourism jobs. Michigan's tourism website ranks among the busiest in the nation. Destinations draw vacationers, hunters, and nature enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada. Michigan is fifty percent forest land, much of it quite remote. The forests, lakes and thousands of miles of beaches are top attractions. Event tourism draws large numbers to occasions like the Tulip Time Festival and the National Cherry Festival.
In 2006, the Michigan State Board of Education mandated that all public schools in the state hold their first day of school after the Labor Day holiday, in accordance with the new Post Labor Day School law. A survey found that 70% of all tourism business comes directly from Michigan residents, and the Michigan Hotel, Motel, & Resort Association claimed that the shorter summer in between school years cut into the annual tourism season in the state.
Tourism in metropolitan Detroit draws visitors to leading attractions, especially The Henry Ford, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Zoo, and to sports in Detroit. Other museums include the Detroit Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, museums in the Cranbrook Educational Community, and the Arab American National Museum. The metro area offers four major casinos, MGM Grand Detroit,Greektown, Motor City, and Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; moreover, Detroit is the largest American city and metropolitan region to offer casino resorts.
Hunting and fishing are significant industries in the state. Charter boats are based in many Great Lakes cities to fish for salmon, trout, walleye and perch. Michigan ranks first in the nation in licensed hunters (over one million) who contribute $2 billion annually to its economy. Over three-quarters of a million hunters participate in white-tailed deer season alone. Many school districts in rural areas of Michigan cancel school on the opening day of firearm deer season, because of attendance concerns.
Michigan's Department of Natural Resources manages the largest dedicated state forest system in the nation. The forest products industry and recreational users contribute $12 billion and 200,000 associated jobs annually to the state's economy. Public hiking and hunting access has also been secured in extensive commercial forests. The state has the highest number of golf courses and registered snowmobiles in the nation.
The state has numerous historical markers, which can themselves become the center of a tour. The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
With its position in relation to the Great Lakes and the countless ships that have foundered over the many years in which they have been used as a transport route for people and bulk cargo, Michigan is a world-class scuba diving destination. TheMichigan Underwater Preserves are 11 underwater areas where wrecks are protected for the benefit of sport divers.