Michigan, state in the East North Central United States. It is unique among the states because it consists of two peninsulas completely separated by water and bordering on four of the five Great Lakes. Between Lakes Michigan and Huron lie the Straits of Mackinac, which separate Michigan’s two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula is bounded on the east by Lakes Huron, Saint Clair, and Erie and by the Detroit and Saint Clair rivers, all of which separate the state from the Canadian province of Ontario. This peninsula is bounded on the south by Ohio and Indiana, on the west by Lake Michigan, and on the north by Lakes Michigan and Huron and by the Straits of Mackinac. The Upper Peninsula is bordered on the east by the Saint Marys River, on the south by the Straits of Mackinac and Lakes Huron and Michigan, on the west by Wisconsin, and on the north by Lake Superior. Lansing is the capital of Michigan. Detroit is the largest city.
When Michigan was admitted to the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state, it was primarily a fur-trading territory. Its rich agricultural resources were not developed until later in the century. Its industrial prominence dates from the beginnings of automobile manufacturing in the early 20th century. The way of life in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, with its vast industrial development, has come to symbolize the 20th-century United States. The Upper Peninsula is a less populated region of great natural beauty that is known as a recreation and wilderness area. It is also noted for its mineral wealth.
The name of the state is taken from that of Lake Michigan. The source of the lake name is disputed. Traditionally it is said to have been derived from the Algonquian term michigama meaning “big water” or “great lake.” Others say the word comes from the Chippewa term majigan, meaning “clearing,” which was given to an open area on the shores of the lake in the 17th century. Michigan is called the Wolverine State, because of the importance of wolverine pelts to early trading posts in the region. Encarta © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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