The Large Lake State
The Michigan Territory was established by an Act of Congress in 1805 on this day. The Act was effective on June 30, 1805. Michigan became a state 32 years later.
Michigan owes its name to the word for “Large Lake” or “Large Water” in the language of the Native American Objibwe tribe, mishigami.
Starting with the 17th century, both the French and the English wanted to control this area, strategically central to the Great Lakes.
First the French had the upper hand through establishing the first European settlement in 1668, Sault Ste. Marie, by Marquette, a Jesuit priest. In 1701 Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit was founded by the French army officer, Cadillac. In 1763 the British took control under a treaty, but unlike the Native Americans and the French, failed to significantly contribute terms later used as place names.
The borders of the Michigan Territory moved quite a bit over the years. Here is Carey and Lea’s map from 1822 illustrating the point. A somewhat narrow strip of land on the western shores of Lake Michigan, now part of Wisconsin, is shown to be part of the Michigan Territory.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.