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Michigan History Timeline

  • (1620) French Canadian explorers arrived in upper region of Michigan
  • (1634) Jean Nicolet passed through Straits of Mackinac while exploring the area
  • (1659) Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Medard des Groseilliers traveled to western Lake Superior with fur trading Native Americans
  • (1665) Claude-Jean Allouez and followers reported copper deposits in Keweenaw Peninsula region
  • (1668) First permanent European settlement established by French missionaries, Fathers Dablon and Marquette, at Sault Sainte Marie
  • (1673) Jesuit missionary, Jacques Marquette and fur trader Louis Jolliet, led small group to explore great river called Messissipi by Indians
  • (1679) Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, established Fort Miami, first French fort in area
  • (1680) LaSalle abandoned Fort Miami; traveled across Lower Peninsula
  • (1686) Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, established Fort St Joseph (now Port Huron)
  • (1701) French army officer, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, founded Detroit
  • (1754 - 1763) French and Indian War
  • (1758) British captured Fort Frontenac, cut off New France's supply and communication into Michigan
  • (1760) British captured Detroit, French rule ended
  • (1763) France ceded all lands in North America east of Mississippi River to Great Britain in Treaty of Paris; Ottawa Indians, led by Chief Pontiac, led revolt against British, captured all forts in Michigan except Detroit
  • (1787) Michigan became part of Northwest Territory in Northwest Ordinance of 1787
  • (1796) British evacuated Detroit, other posts now under terms of Jay Treaty; Wayne County established as administrative division of Northwest Territory
  • (1805) Michigan Territory created, seat of government established in Detroit; much of Detroit destroyed by fire
  • (1812) War of 1812; Detroit, Fort Mackinac surrendered to British
  • (1813) American forces retook Detroit
  • (1819) Ojibwe, Ottawa, Potawatomi Indians ceded more than six million acres in Lower Peninsula to United States; Indians began mass exodus to the south
  • (1824) Chicago Road surveyed between Fort Dearborn and Detroit
  • (1835) Conflict with Ohio (Toledo War) over border; Ohio granted lands around Toledo, Michigan received entire Upper Peninsula
  • (1837) Michigan became 26th U. S. state
  • (1842) Copper mining began near Keweenaw Point; last Indian lands ceded in Michigan by treaty
  • (1844) Iron ore discovered in Upper Peninsula
  • (1847) Lansing named State Capital; Dutch Calvinist separatists founded Holland, Michigan
  • (1854) Republic Party organized at Jackson
  • (1855) Soo Canal and Locks opened, linked Lake Superior with Lake Huron
  • (1861 - 1865) Civil War; over 90,000 men from Michigan served
  • (1871) Fires in Port Huron, Holland and Manistee killed 200, burned over 1.2 million acres
  • (1881) Great "Thumb Fire" (Huron Fire) killed 282 people, damages $2,347,000, was first natural disaster served by American Red Cross
  • (1896) Charles King of Detroit first person to design, build, test drive gasoline-powered automobile
  • (1899) Ransom E. Olds established first automobile factory in Detroit
  • (1908) First Ford Model T manufactured; General Motors founded
  • (1910) Michigan held first primary election
  • (1928) Ford River Rouge Plant completed, largest factory complex in the world, employed 100,000
  • (1929) Ambassador Bridge opened between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario (longest bridge in world when built)
  • (1930) Detroit-Windsor Tunnel opened
  • (1935) United Automobile Worker's Union (UAW) formed in Detroit; Detroit Tigers won World Series
  • (1936) Autoworkers staged sit-down strike at General Motors Corporation in Flint
  • (1941) Auto plants converted for production of war materials, Michigan became known as "Arsenal of Democracy"
  • (1945) Detroit Tigers won World Series
  • (1957) Mackinac Bridge "Big Mac" opened
  • (1959) Barry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records
  • (1963) New State Constitution ratified
  • (1967) Five days of race riots in Detroit, 43 killed, 1,189 injured, over 7,000 arrested, much of inner city destroyed
  • (1968) Detroit Tigers won World Series
  • (1974) Gerald Ford became 38th U. S. President
  • (1975) Ore freighter, Edmund Fitzgerald, sunk in Lake Superior during storm, all aboard were lost
  • (1976) Referendum vote banned throwaway bottles
  • (1977) Renaissance Center dedicated in Detroit
  • (1980) Detroit hosted Republican National Convention
  • (1981) Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum dedicated in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids
  • (1984) Detroit Tigers won the World Series
  • (1989) Detroit Pistons won NBA championship
  • (1990) Detroit Pistons won NBA championship
  • (1992) Term limitations for governor, federal or state senator or representatives adopted by a state constitutional amendment
  • (1998) Chrysler Corporation merged with German auto company, Daimler-Benz
  • (2001) Detroit celebrated 300th anniversary; DaimlerChrysler announced job cuts
  • (2002) Jennifer Granholm elected Michigan's first female governor; Detroit Red Wings win Stanley Cup
  • (2004) Altercation between Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers took place at NBA game, nine players suspended, five players charged with assault; Detroit Pistons won NBA championship
  • (2005) General Motors announced massive job cuts; civil rights icon, Rosa Parks, died at age of 92
  • (2008) Detroit Red Wings won 11th Stanley Cup
  • (2009) General Motors (GM) announced cut of 21,000 US jobs, phasing out Pontiac brand; Chrysler filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy; incident on airliner on international flight arriving in Detroit from Amsterdam was failed bomb attack, Nigerian man arrested
  • (2010) Pipeline in Kalamazoo River sprung leak, more than 800,000 gallons of oil released into creek, traveled to Kalamazoo River, largest oil spill in history of Midwest
  • (2011) Trial began for Nigerian accused of trying to bomb Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam
  • (2012) General Motors reported record profits for 2011
  • (2012) Nigerian bomber sentenced to life in prison

Michigan Photographs

de la salle jacques marquette chief pontiac ford model t fort mackinac french indian war surrender of detroit ramsom olds soo locks rosa parks gerald ford edmund fitzgerald motown detroit jennifer granholm pontiac gto renaissance center delta airlines

Michigan Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Harrisville Alcona 989
Munising Alger 906
Allegan Allegan 269
Alpena Alpena 989
Mancelona Antrim 231
Standish Arenac 989
Lanse Baraga 906
Hastings Barry 269
Bay City Bay 989
Beulah Benzie 231
Niles Berrien 269
Coldwater Branch 517
Battle Creek Calhoun 269
Dowagiac Cass 269
Charlevoix Charlevoix 231
Cheboygan Cheboygan 231
Sault Sainte Marie Chippewa 906
Harrison Clare 989
Saint Johns Clinton 989
Grayling Crawford 989
Escanaba Delta 906
Iron Mountain Dickinson 906
Lansing Eaton 517
Petoskey Emmet 231
Flint Genesee 810
Gladwin Gladwin 989
Ironwood Gogebic 906
Traverse City Grand Traverse 231
Alma Gratiot 989
Hillsdale Hillsdale 517
Houghton Houghton 906
Bad Axe Huron 989
Lansing Ingham 517
Ionia Ionia 616
Oscoda Iosco 989
Iron River Iron 906
Mount Pleasant Isabella 989
Jackson Jackson 517
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo 269
Kalkaska Kalkaska 231
Grand Rapids Kent 616
Mohawk Keweenaw 906
Baldwin Lake 231
Lapeer Lapeer 810
Suttons Bay Leelanau 231
Adrian Lenawee 517
Howell Livingston 517
Newberry Luce 906
Saint Ignace Mackinac 906
Sterling Heights Macomb 586
Warren Macomb 586
Manistee Manistee 231
Marquette Marquette 906
Ludington Mason 231
Big Rapids Mecosta 231
Menominee Menominee 906
Midland Midland 989
Lake City Missaukee 231
Monroe Monroe 734
Greenville Montcalm 231
Lewiston Montmorency 989
Muskegon Muskegon 231
Newaygo Newaygo 231
Rochester Oakland 248
Hart Oceana 231
West Branch Ogemaw 989
Ontonagon Ontonagon 906
Reed City Osceola 231
Mio Oscoda 989
Gaylord Otsego 989
Holland Ottawa 616
Rogers City Presque Isle 989
Roscommon Roscommon 989
Saginaw Saginaw 989
Port Huron Saint Clair 810
Sturgis Saint Joseph 269
Croswell Sanilac 810
Manistique Schoolcraft 906
Owosso Shiawassee 989
Caro Tuscola 989
South Haven Van Buren 269
Ypsilanti Washtenaw 734
Ann Arbor Washtenaw 734
Detroit Wayne 313
Cadillac Wexford 231

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.