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c. 5,000 years ago The "Old Copper Indians" occupy parts of the peninsula. They work U.P. copper into prized objects traded among many tribes, then mysteriously disappear.
1,200+ years ago Ojibway and Menominee Indians settle parts of the Great Lakes. Less technologically sophisticated than tribes to the south, they depend on fishing with nets for much of their food.
1618-20 Explorer Etienne Brulé of France crosses the St. Marys River that forms today's Canadian-U.P. border.  Probably the first European to set foot in Michigan, he was seeking a route to the Far East for the king of France.

Michigan Native population about 15,000

1621 Brule returns, explores Lake Superior coast, and notes copper deposits
1634 Jean Nicolet, an agent of the French, was the first European to pass through the Straits of Mackinac.  He was an agent of Champlain, Governor of Canada.
1641 Isaac Joques and Charles Raymbault, Jesuit missionaries, reached the rapids at the foot of Lake Superior, which they named the Sault de Sainte Marie.
1654 Medard Chouart, the Sieur des Groseilliers and Pierre Esprit Radisson explored the shore of Lake Superior.
1600s In the late 1600s, highly lucrative trading of beaver pelts spreads into the Great Lakes region.  Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Island become strategic French fur trading posts.
1660 Father Rene Menard, a Jesuit priest, is sent from Quebec to establish the first mission among the Huron Indians.  He spends the winter near the present town of L'Anse.  
1667 Peace treaty agreed upon by the French and Iroquois Indians permitted the French to travel the lower lakes.
1668 Father Jacques Marquette and Claude Dablon founded first permanent settlement in Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie. 
1669 Adrien Jolliet with an Indian Guide traveled through Lakes Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario on a trip to Quebec and becames the first European known to have visited the southern Lower Peninsula.
1671 Francois Daumont, Sieur de St. Jusson, representative of Louis XIV, claimed the whole interior of the continent for the French as a result of the organization of the Hudson Bay Co. by the British in 1670.

St. Ignace is founded when Father Marquette builds mission chapel

First of the military outposts, Fort de Buade, later known as Fort Michilimackinac, is established at St. Ignace.

1673 June 17 - Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette, fur trader Louis Jolliet and five voyageurs leave the recently established Indian mission at St. Ignace to explore a great river known by the Indians as the "Messissipi."  However, they travel only as far as the Arkansas River.
1675 May 18. Father Marquette dies at site of present-day Ludington
1679 LaSalle builds Fort Miami on site of present-day St. Joseph
1680 LaSalle marches across Lower Peninsula, reaching Detroit River in 10 days; first white man known to have penetrated this territory
1683 Fort de Baude was built at St. Ignace.
1686-1697 Daniel Greysolon built Fort St. Joseph at present-day Port Huron
1689 War breaks out between the British and French, the first of a series which lasts until 1815.
1694 Cadillac serves as a commandant at Fort de Baude, later known as Michilimackinac.
1701 July 24 - Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a 43-year-old French army officer, selects a site at le détroit (the straits)—the waterway between Lakes St. Clair and Erie—and establishes a French settlement.

Cadillac moves garrison at Fort Michilimackinac to Fort Pontchartrain [Detroit]

1712 British-inspired Indian raids begin.

April 24. Fort Pontchartrain [Detroit] is besieged by more than 1,000 Fox and Sauk Indians; defenders number 30

May 13. Detroit is relieved by arrival of Vincennes with reinforcements; friendly Huron and Ottawa, aid townspeople. Sauk and Fox are forced upriver, where 5-day battle ends in surrender of invaders.

1715 Spring. French re-establish a fort on the south shore at the Straits of Mackinac and named it Fort Michilimackinac.  The fort was essential to French security and to keep the western Indians loyal.
1730 October 18. Cadillac dies in France.
1754 Outbreak of French and Indian War; Michigan is drawn into war, although removed from chief fighting zone
1756 France and England formally declare war
1760 September 8. French surrender to British at Montreal

November 29. France surrenders Detroit to British

1763 May 7. During the Indian wars in the area, Pontiac, Ottawa chief, and his followers enter fort at Detroit in abortive effort to capture it from British by surprise attack.  Pontiac lays siege to Detroit for 135-days. The natives capture all the forts in Michigan, except Detroit.

June 2. Massacre occurs at Fort Michilimackinac, part of Pontiac's uprising

1765 August 17. Pontiac signs treaty with British at Detroit
1771 Alexander Henry heads first mining expedition in region of Porcupine Mountains
1779 The (Northwest) Ordinance of 1787 defines the procedure for obtaining statehood in the Northwest Territory, of which Michigan is a part.

British abandon Fort Michilimackinac on the mainland and begin building a new fort on Mackinac Island to defend against the Americans. Fur trading continues to thrive in the region.

Nearly 3,000 living in Detroit area

1781 Spanish flag raised over Fort St. Joseph for short time.
1783 September 3. Treaty of Paris -- created at the termination of the Revolutionary War.  British forces are required to withdraw from all US lands. (British remain in territory to become Michigan, however, for 13 years.)

Land taken from the French in 1763 is given to the United States.

1787 Ordinance of 1787 established Northwest Territory, of which Michigan is part, and defines the procedure for obtaining statehood.
1791 Michigan is incorporated into Upper Canada under the provisions of the constitutional act by British Parliament.
1792 Under the Constitutional Act the first election is held in Michigan.
1796 In an article in the Jay Treaty, the British agree to evacuate the forts and furt posts in the west on or before June 1, 1796.  

July 11. British evacuate Detroit. Stars and Stripes is raised for first time on Michigan soil.

New county of Wayne is created.  It embraces all the present State of Michigan except the western part of the Upper Peninsula, with the addition of northern Ohio and Indiana, and a strip of eastern Illinois and Wisconsin bordering on Lake Michigan.

1799 Michigan Territory has enough inhabitants to entitle it to representation at the General Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787.  
1802 Detroit incorporated as a town
1803 The Territory of Indiana, of which Michigan is now part, was created by the division of the Northwest Territory.  The seat of government is located at Chilicothe, Ohio.  
1805 January 11. Michigan Territory created, with Detroit as capital

June 11. Detroit is completely destroyed by fire

July 1. General William Hull, first territorial governor of Michigan, reaches Detroit and assumes control

1805-6 Commercial timbering begins, when sawmills are built on St. Clair River to aid in rebuilding Detroit
1807 November 17. Treaty of Detroit: Chippewa, Ottawa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi tribes meet with General Hull
1809 August 31. Michigan Essay and Impartial Observer, first newspaper, is printed by James M. Miller; only few copies sold
1810 Population 4,762; slaves, mostly captive Indians, number 32.

Methodist Episcopal Society is founded, first Protestant organization in Detroit and first permanent Protestant society in Territory.

1811 John Jacob Astor monopolizes the Great Lakes lucrative fur trading business, using Mackinac Island as his base of operations. The trade flourished into the 1830s, then quickly declined.
1812 June 18. U.S. declares war against England

July 17. Fort Mackinac falls to British

August 16. Hull surrenders Detroit to British without firing a shot

1813 January 22- A British force of 1,300 soldiers and Indians falls upon an American army at the River Raisin near present-day Monroe. Against direct orders, U.S. Brigadier General James Winchester has moved his force of 700 Kentuckians and 200 regulars to the River Raisin.

American forces reenter Detroit. Lewis Cass is appointed military and civil governor of the Michigan Territory.

October 29. Colonel [later General] Lewis Cass military governor at Detroit. Cass continues, under Presidential appointment as governor of Michigan Territory for 18 years.

1814 Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812, British losing Mackinac Island [but occupying Drummond Island, to the north, for eight years]
1817 August 26. 'Catholepistemiad,' or University of Michigania, is incorporated - first university, as distinguished from college, in the United States

John Jacob Astor establishes trading post at Mackinac Island, centering his fur-trading activities there

1818 Public land sales begin at Detroit; immigration from East is under way

March 31. Michigan's first Protestant church [Methodist Episcopal] is erected about 7 miles from Detroit, near banks of River Rouge

August 27. First steamboat, Walk-in-the-Water, arrives at Detroit

1819 September 24. By Treaty of Saginaw, Governor Cass obtains for US about 6 million acres of Michigan land, a cession that marks beginning of Native exodus from Territory
1820 Population of Territory, 8096. Detroit, Mackinac, Sault Ste. Marie are largest towns
1821 August 29. Cass negotiates Treaty at Chicago, gaining from 'big three' nations - Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi - all Michigan territory south of Grand River that had not previously been ceded
1822 Fort Saginaw built on the Saginaw River; Fort Brady established at Sault Ste. Marie.
1825 Opening of Erie Canal facilitates settlement of Michigan and shipping of farm products to East

Land values rise

1828 The Territorial Capitol building is built at Detroit for a cost of $24,500 [site Capitol Park, Detroit].
1830 Population 31,639

Severe depression strikes Michigan

1831 August 1. General Lewis Cass, appointed secretary of war by President Jackson in July, resigns governorship

Stevens T. Mason, at age of 19, becomes acting governor - a post he holds several times during following four years

1832 July 4. Seven-week cholera epidemic devastates Detroit; Belle Isle is used for quarantine
1834 Michigan Territory includes present states of Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and part of Dakota.

March. Territorial legislature petitions Congress for permission to form State government. Southern States protest admission of another free State; Ohio protests the boundary Michigan claims on the South; Congress refuses permission

July 6. Second cholera epidemic at Detroit begins with death of Governor George B. Porter; wipes out one seventh of population

1835 February 23. Ohio legislature passes act asserting claims to the 'Toledo strip,' along her northern boundary

April. Acting Governor Stevens T. Mason calls out militia; Toledo War begins, with more anger than gunfire. Border incidents continue into September, jurisdictional wrangling through all of 1836

May 11. Convention at Detroit forms State constitution in preparation for statehood; approved by general electorate on October 5

Michigan is not admitted to the Union because she will not surrender her claim to the Toledo strip. The area was later relinquished in exchange for the western section of the Upper Peninsula - and a promise of Statehood.

1836 Daily stages begin carrying mail and passengers to Sandusky, Chicago, and Central Michigan; railroad to Jackson is under construction; ship building becomes important along nearby rivers and lake shores - during 7 months of navigation, 200,000 persons pass through Detroit's port

Quaker preacher employs underground railroad to bring slaves into Cass County, and movement of fugities and freed slaves into State begins

1837 January 26. Michigan admitted to the Union as a free State

The Upper Peninsula [lost to Wisconsin Territory when it was created April 20, 1836] is restored to Michigan, substantially in exchange for accepting Ohio's boundary claims.  Described in a federal report as a "sterile region on the shores of Lake Superior destined by soil and climate to remain forever a wilderness," the U.P becomes a part of the new state of Michigan.  Ohio, in turn, is given the disputed city of Toledo.

1839 Astor's American Fur Company builds the U.P.'s first railroad, a .7 mile long line around the St. Mary's River rapids in Sault Ste. Marie. It operates until 1855 when the Soo canal Locks are completed.
1841 February 1. Dr. Douglass Houghton, first State geologist, reports on rich copper deposits of Superior region, and makes cautious mention of possibility of iron ore in Marquette district

Fall. University of Michigan opened at Ann Arbor

1842 Treaty of LaPointe:  Indians cede Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale, rich in copper, also valuable iron districts - the last Indian holdings in State.

Copper mining operations begin near Keweenaw Point.

U.P. copper in the Keweenaw and iron mines just south and west of Marquette proliferate, but won't become profitable for another 2 or 3 decades.  The federal government creates Fort Wilkins near Copper Harbor to maintain order on this frontier.

1844 September 19. Iron ore discovered on site of present-day city of Negaunee by surveyor William A. Burt [inventor of solar compass]

November 18. Cliff Lode is discovered, first copper location to be opened in Keweenaw district

Fort Wilkins built at Copper Harbor.

1846 September. Dr. A.C. Van Raalte, Dutch secessionist pastor, sails for Rotterdam with 53 Hollanders; they form nucleus of western Michigan's large Dutch settlements begun the following winter.

The Jackson Mining Company begins operations on site of Burt's 1844 discovery; first iron-ore mining in State

1847 January 27 - Underground Railroad: Francis Troutman and several others arrive at the home of the Adam Crosswhite family—Kentucky slaves who have escaped to Marshall.

March 17. Old capitol of Detroit used for last time by State legislature, which directs that the capital be permanently located "in the township of Lansing, in the county of Ingham."

1848 Legislature met for first time in Capitol in Lansing
1849 Cliff Mine [of Cliff Lode] pays a dividend of $60,000, first sum of this magnitude distributed in North America on copper investment

There are 558 sawmills operating in State

1850 Population of Michigan 397,654
1853 Ontonagon lighthouse completed. Samuel Peck is appointed as the station's first keeper on August 26, 1853, and displayed the station's Lewis lamp array for the first time that shipping season. In 1867 wooden lighthouse would be rebuilt of brick in the "schoolhouse" style used frequently throughout the Western Great Lakes during this time period.
1854 July 6-8. Republican party first organized at Jackson
1855 May 21. Sault Ste. Marie ship canal opened; destined to be among world's most important waterways commercially.  Eventually its tonnage will surpass both the Suez and Panama canals.
1857 Christian Reformed Church [in North America] is founded by Michigan's Dutch settlers, following secession from Reformed Church

The first U.P. railroad is completed between Ishpeming and Marquette, speeding mineral output of Upper Peninsula

1859 The first dock for shipping U.P. iron ore from the Marquette Range (from Neagunee to Michigamme) to the rest of the country opens in Marquette, which becomes the commercial center of the U.P.
1860 Michigan population is 749,113

Successful well-drilling of salt begins in Saginaw County

1861 April. Thomas A. Edison erects his first electrical battery and begins experiments at Fort Gratiot [Port Huron]

May 13. First Michigan Regiment leaves Fort Wayne and is the first western regiment to reach Washington during Civil War, in which 90,000 Michigan soldiers see service

1864 February 17. First Michigan Colored Infantry [USCT] is mustered in. Black Michigan troops number 1,673

The copper lode at Calumet is discovered. Michigan's production of copper exceeds that of any other state until 1887

1866 Brothers Thomas and Bartley Breen discover an iron-ore outcropping near Waucedah, and are credited with being the first whites in that area.
1868 Frederick Baraga, the first bishop of the Catholic diocese of the Upper Peninsula, dies in Marquette.
1870 Population 1,054,670; chiefly rural
1871 Summer. Forest fires sweep across State, destroying towns, leveling thousands of acres of pine, causing losses in the millions of dollars

Calumet & Hecla Mining Company consolidates local [Calumet] mining interests, controlling one of the world's richest copper districts. Calumet becomes company town.

Negaunee's average annual iron-ore production reaches 135,000 tons

1873 John Lane Buell discovers the Menominee Iron Range, leading to development of the area and subsequent creation of Dickinson County.
1876 Ontonagon mine operator builds first telephone system [20 miles] in Michigan, after seeing Bell's invention at Philadelphia exposition
1877 Active operations begin in the mines of Menominee iron district
1879 New State Capitol dedicated at Lansing
1880 Population 1,636,937 with 75% living in rural areas

Discovery of Gogebic Range iron ore in large quantity at Bessemer

1881 Lumbering begins in Ontonagon County;

October. Railroad ferry service connects Upper and Lower Peninsulas, making Upper Peninsula readily accessible for first time

1883 Compulsory school-attendance law is passed

Half of copper mined in US since 1847 has come from Michigan

Diamond Match Company opens in Ontonagon

1884 Working of iron-ore deposits of Gogebic Range begins, when transportation facilities are acquired

John and Thomas Clegg build first self-propelled vehicle of Michigan manufacture, a four-wheeled steamer auto

1885 September 15. Michigan College of Mines opens [Houghton]
1887 Iron-ore shipments from Menominee Range begin; at end of year, total shipments amount to 6,000,000 tons

Ransome E. Olds' first auto steamer appears [steam generated by burning gasoline]

1889 First railroad logging in Ontonagon County
1890s The booming Gogebic Range around Ironwood helps the U.P. become the nation's biggest supplier of iron ore.  The industry peaks in 1920, then steadily declines as deeper mines and scarcer iron ore make production too costly.
1890 Michigan's population is 2,093,889.

Peak period for manufacture of patented road carts at Flint, laying foundations for automotive industry in that city

1891 May 21.  Dickinson County created from Marquette and Menominee Counties.

October 1. Port Huron, Michigan, and Sarnia, Ontario, are joined by Grand Trunk R.R. tunnel under St. Clair River; first underwater railroad tunnel linking foreign countries

1893 Olds brings out a practical four-wheeled auto. The first practical Ford car is made.
1896 August 25.  The town of Ontonagon, with a population of 2,300, is consumed by fire; 340 buildings, commercial and residential, were destroyed; 1 person died.
1899 Northern State Normal School Michigan University is founded as a teachers' college by the state legislature. It becomes Northern Michigan University and grows to become U.P.'s largest university with 8,000 students.

Olds Motor Works erects in Detroit first factory built in America for manufacture of automobiles

Detroit Automobile Company organizes to build Ford's car [this becomes Cadillac Company after Ford withdraws]

1900 Copper mining in the U.P. begins a slow decline due to cheaper surface mines elsewhere. The last mine closes in 1965.

Michigan's population has grown to 2,420,982.

1902 Packard Motor Car Company and Cadillac Motor Car Company are organized
1904 Organization of Buick Motor Company marks beginning of auto manufacture in Flint on large scale
1906 Timbering of second-growth forests begins in Upper Peninsula
1908 William C. Durant organizes General Motors Company [later Corporation]

Fisher Body Corporation is founded

First Model T Fords are manufactured

1911 November. Durant organizes Chevrolet Motor Car Company
1913 July 23. Western Federation of Miners calls strike among 13,514 Upper Peninsula copper miners; violence and bloodshed result

There are 60,000 autos registered in Michigan

1914 January. Henry Ford announces adoption of $5 minimum wage for 8-hour day

Following the 1913, Finns initiate cooperative stores in the copper country

First permanent and independent symphony orchestra organizes in Detroit

1916 WWI. Many Michigan men join Canadian companies leaving for France.

Annual copper production reaches peak of 270 million pounds refined copper; iron ore from Marquette Range alone at peak of 5.5 million tons

1918 Michigan men in World War service reaches total of 135,485
1919 Influenza deaths in Detroit number 3,814
1920 The population of Michigan is 3,668,412.
1922 Airline service is established between Detroit and Cleveland
1926 November 3. Worst disaster in Michigan iron mining occurs at Barnes-Hecker mine, when quicksands break through walls entombing 52 men 1,000 feet below surface. The mine is sealed and abandoned.
1928 ....through 1931.  Huge tracts of U.P. land, part public domain, part abandoned cutover timberlands, are assembled to become today's million-acre Ottawa National Forest and 900,000-acre Hiawatha National Forest. Together with the vast state park and forest lands, over one third of the U.P. eventually becomes government owned recreational land.
1929 Some large copper mines of Keweenaw Peninsula close; 85% of Keweenaw County population goes on relief

Ambassador Bridge opened between Detroit and Windsor, Canada

1930s Sea lampreys invade the Great Lakes. The lampreys, along with alewives (introducted in the 1870s),  overfishing, and pollution largely destroys commercial fishing in the U.P. by 1960. The only remaining commercial fishing in the U.P. is by Native Americans, who are allowed to use gill nets.
1930 Michigan's population 4,842,325. Indians in State estimated at 7,000, about 1,214 full-bloods. Blacks number 169,453. Urban centers account for 68.2% of population, almost an exact reversal of 1880

Detroit-Windsor, Canada tunnel opened

1932 February 14. Governor William A. Comstock calls State-wide 'banking holiday' to avoid bank runs after disclosure of condition of Union Guardian Trust Company, Detroit

March 7. "Ford Hunger March' riot occurs at Ford plant in Dearborn

1933 May 2.  Two hundred young men from Detroit arrive at an isolated spot in Chippewa County and set up Camp Raco—Michigan's first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) facility.
1935  In the midst of the Great Depression, the United Automobile Workers of America (UAW) is organized in Detroit.
1936 December 30. Spurred by an unfounded rumor that work is going to be transferred to plants with weak union support, autoworkers begin a spontaneous sit-down strike at General Motors Corporation (GMC) plants in Flint.  The strike affects 150,000 workers and closes more than 60 plants in 14 states
1937 Keweenaw Peninsula copper mining again turns upward, production reaching 75,000 pounds
1939 August 9. Tornadoes and freak storms injure scores of persons and cause damage estimated at over a million dollars in Lower Peninsula.
1940 Michigan's population is now 5,256,106

The U.P.'s population declines by 20,000 as booming Southeastern Michigan factories lure laborers.

July 15. The world's tallest man, Robert P. Wadlow, 8'9-1/2" tall, dies at Manistee at the age of 22

November 11. Coast Guard officials estimate 65 persons lost their lives in the waters of Lake Michigan in 78 mph gale; sixteen bodies washed ashore at Ludington.

1941 Auto plants are converted to the production of war materials, helping Michigan become known as the "Arsenal of Democracy" on October 1st.
1944 Porcupine State Park is created, eventually growing to 58,000 acres and becoming one of the country's premier parklands.
1947 Tahquamenon Falls State Park, with the U.P.'s biggest waterfall, is finally created after years of assembling parcels. Today it totals over 38,000 acres.
1950s The U.S. Air Force establishes two huge B-52 bases in the U.P., positioned to attack the Soviet Union across the Arctic Circle. Kincheloe AFB is built near Kinross; Sawyer is built just south of Marquette. They both grow into sizable communities of about 10,000. Kincheloe closes in the 1970s, Sawyer in the 1990s.
1957 November 1.  Mackinac Bridge opens, united Michigan's two peninsulas.  U.P tourism grows substantially.
1960 The only remaining commercial fishing in the U.P. is by Native Americans, who are allowed to use gill nets.  (See 1930s entry.)

Carpenter, Allan, Enchantment of America: Michigan. Chicago: Children's Press, 1964.
Work Projects Administration, Michigan: A Guide to the Wolverine State. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.