Michigan (Mish'e-gan; Chippewa Mitchi Saw-gyegan, ' Great Lake'), the third in size of the live great fresh-water lakes of North America, and the only one lying wholly in the United States, between Michigan and Wisconsin. It is 335 miles long, and 50 to 88 broad; the mean depth is 325 feet, the maximum 870. It has the same elevation as Lake Huron (with which it is connected by the Strait of Mackinaw) - 581 3/10 feet above sea-level; this is 20 1/2 feet lower than Lake Superior, and 8 4/10 feet above Lake Erie. Its surface area is 22,450 sq. m. There is a neap-tide of 1 1/2 inch, and a spring-tide of about 3 inches. The shores of Lake Michigan are for the most part low. Its principal harbours are those of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Racine.
Michigan, one of the northern states of the American Union, the seventeenth in area and ninth in population, has an area of 58,915 sq. m., or more than that of England and Wales ; 1114 sq. m. are occupied by 5173 small lakes. It is sometimes called the Peninsular State, being divided into two great peninsulas by Lake Michigan. The upper, lying between the north end of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, is mostly rugged, broken, rocky, and comparatively barren, though teeming with mineral wealth. In the north-west, near Lake Superior, is the highest land in the state, among the hills known as the Porcupine Mountains (1830 feet). The lower peninsula lies between Lake Michigan and Lakes Huron and Erie. No part of it is more than 1780 feet above sea-level; and the mean height is only 160 feet above the environing lakes. The upper peninsula is 318 miles by 164; the lower 277 by 177. The greatest length of the state from Montreal River in the north-west to Maumee Bay on Lake Erie is about 500 miles. The state touches Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, being elsewhere bounded by the lakes and their outlets. The mean annual temperature is 46.1° F. (summer, 68.5°; winter, 23.8°); the annual rainfall is 35.8 inches. Both peninsulas, with occasional exceptions of swamps or small prairies, were originally covered with dense forests, the products of which have proved exceedingly valuable. The centre of the lower peninsula is a coal-bearing area of about 5000 sq. m., carrying, however, comparatively little workable coal. In the Michigan salt group are the rich brine wells of the Saginaw valley ; in the Marshall or Waverley are the Huron grindstones. Michigan is exceptionally rich in iron and copper; the great Calumet and Hecla copper-mines are on the Keweenaw Peninsula, running into Lake Superior. Gypsum appears in immense deposits at Grand Rapids, in the lower peninsula. Building-stones abound in both peninsulas, and in the upper there are also statuary and other marbles, and such ornamental stones as agates, jasper, chalcedony, and chlorastolites. Glass sand is found in the extreme south-east; and lime, bricks, and tiles are made in many parts. Of the numerous mineral springs, nineteen have become popular resorts, and the waters of four have a commercial value. Lumbering is the second great industrial interest of the state, the forests of northern Michigan being mostly pine. Other leading manufactories are grist-mills, foundries and machine-shops, iron and steel works, and those of agricultural implements and of furniture. But agriculture remains the chief industry, employing about half the population. The most important crops are wheat, maize, oats, and barley ; and in the 'fruit belt,' a narrow strip of about 200 miles in length on the west shore of Lake Michigan, peaches, plums, grapes, etc, are grown in great quantity. Much wool is produced. The commerce of the state is very great, and is promoted by three ship-canals.
The Michigan country was probably visited by Jean Nicolet in 1634, at the Sault de Ste Marie, where the first permanent white settlement was made by Father Marquette in 1668 for a Jesuit mission. Detroit was founded in 1701 by a French colony. The country passed to the English in 1760, and to the United States in 1796 ; it was again occupied by Great Britain in 1812, but was recovered by the Americans the next year. It was organised as Michigan territory in 1805, and admitted as a state in 1837. Pop. (1800) 551; (1840) 212,267 ; (1900) 2,420,982. Detroit has remained the chief city from the beginning, other cities being Grand Rapids, Bay City, Jackson, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Port Huron, Lansing (the capital), Battle Creek, West Bay City, Manistee, Ishpeming, Menonimee, Flint, Ann Arbor, Adrian, etc. See J. M. Cooley, Michigan (Boston, 1885).