Michigan: Historic Crossroads
Because of its location in the heart of the upper Great Lakes, Michigan has been a historic crossroads. Its waterways and trails were favorite routes of Indians many centuries ago. French explorers first entered Michigan about 1620. By 1700 forts at several key points guarded this vital link between French colonies to the east and to the west and south. In 1760-1761 the British won control of Michigan. Not until 1796 did they withdraw in favor of the Americans, who had been awarded the area in 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War. During the War of 1812, Michigan was one of the most fiercely contested areas. It was admitted as a state in 1837.