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Michigan, state in the Great Lakes region of midwestern United States; it consists of two separate land masses, the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is bordered by Lake Superior to the north, St. Marys River (dividing it from Canada) to the east, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan to the south, and Wisconsin to the south and west. The Lower Peninsula is bordered by the Straits of Mackinac to the north; Lake Huron, Canada, and Lake Erie to the east; Ohio and Indiana to the south; and Lake Michigan to the west.

Land and climate

Michigan's two main land regions are the Superior Upland and the Great Lakes Plains. The Superior Upland region, in the Upper Peninsula's western half, is a rugged, forested area possessing some of the nation's richest iron and copper deposits. The Upper Peninsula's eastern half and the entire Lower Peninsula has thin soil; the northern Lower Peninsula is a rolling and hilly plateau; the southern Lower Peninsula has the best farmland. High bluffs and sand dunes border parts of Lake Michigan. Bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan has the longest coastline of any inland state: 3,288 mi (5,292 km). It has thousands of lakes and ponds. Most of Michigan's rivers and streams flow into the Great Lakes. Some 500 islands lie off Michigan's shores. Michigan's climate is moist, with cold winters and summers that are cool in the north, warm in the south. Principal cities are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, and Flint.


Michigan's economy is based on service industries, the most important being wholesale and retail trade. Michigan is one of the foremost manufacturing states, producing transportation equipment, machinery, food products, chemicals, and metal, rubber, and plastic goods. It leads the nation in the manufacture of automobiles; Detroit is called the “Automobile Capital of the World” and “Motor City.” The most valuable mineral is petroleum, followed by iron ore, natural gas, salt, limestone, and copper. Michigan is a leading producer of iodine, gypsum, peat, and sand and gravel. The chief livestock product is milk, followed by cattle, hogs, and eggs. The chief crops are corn, wheat, soybeans, dry beans, oats, hay, sugar beets, and fruits. Tourism is a major contributor to the economy.


Michigan's present constitution was adopted in 1964. The governor serves a 4-year term. The state's legislature consists of 38 senators serving 4-year terms and 110 representatives serving 2-year terms. In the U.S. Congress, Michigan is represented by 2 senators and 18 representatives.


Native Americans, including the Chippewa, Menominee, and Miami, were Michigan's first settlers. French explorers—the first Europeans—arrived about 1620. France ceded the area to Britain in 1763, after the French and Indian Wars. After the American Revolution, it became part of the United States' Northwest Territory; it became a state in 1837. The Civil War (in which Michigan supported the Union), was followed by rapid expansion. Lumber production was the main industry until the early 1900s, when the automobile industry was established in Detroit. Michigan's economy boomed through World War I, slumped during the Depression of the 1930s, then recovered with World War II. It suffered again during the nationwide recessions of the 1970s and 1980s, when Michigan's unemployment rate led the nation.



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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Medicare to Missionary