Just Yesterday, in 1837, with the stroke of Old Hickory’s quill, Michigan becomes the 26th state in the Union. First settled by Native American tribes and later colonized by French explorers in the 17th century, Michigan was initially part of New France. After said nation’s defeat in the French and Indian War in 1763, the region came under British rule, and was slowly ceded to the newly independent United States after Britain’s defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The recalcitrant Brits were finally and completely run off in 1815.
The area was part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. In 1805, the Michigan Territory was formed, and with a flood of New Englanders arriving via the Erie Canal after 1825, she grew large enough to apply for statehood, once the famous Toledo War was resolved. Michigan soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular immigrant destination. Today she is the 10th most-populous state, the 11th largest by land area, and the largest by area east of the Mississippi.
An occasional wayward Michgander may stray from her breast, and elitists on the coasts may scoff at much of Michigan’s rich and confusing cultural paradoxes. However, disbelievers found here can be gently reminded that they are never more than six miles from a natural water source or more than 85 miles from a Great Lakes shoreline; as such, they could just as easily make these wry remarks from the bottom of any number of lakes whilst chained to a Pontiac transmission.
And here endeth the lesson.