Well-positioned in the country’s Great Lakes region, Michigan is the 11th-largest state of the United States and the largest east of the Mississippi River. The state consists of two peninsulas, separated by a five-mile water channel that joins Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Michigan has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds, representing the longest freshwater coastline of any state in the nation.
Native American tribes occupied the Michigan territory for thousands of years. Later, in the 17th century, the first European settlers arrived, and the land passed from French to British dominion. Michigan joined the Union on January 26, 1837, as a free state. Lansing is the state’s capital, and Detroit is its largest city and metropolitan area.