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Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwestern United States. Michigan has a population of almost 10.12 million people and an area of nearly 97,000 square miles (250,000 km). It is the 10th largest state by population and 11th largest by area. Metro Detroit is one of the largest and most populous metropolitan areas in the country. Its name comes from a gallicized version of the Ojibwe word misikami, which means “large water” or ‘large lake”.
Michigan is the only state with two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula resembles the shape of a mitten, and comprises a majority of the state’s land area. The Upper Peninsula (often called “the U.P.”) is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge links the two peninsulas. Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bordered by four of the five Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair. It also has 64 980 inland lakes, ponds, and the longest freshwater coastline in the world, just behind Alaska.
Over thousands of years, a succession Native American tribes occupied the area for the first time. In the 17th century, French explorers claimed it as part of the New France colony, when it was largely inhabited by indigenous peoples. French and Canadian traders, settlers, Metis, as well as Metis, arrived in the region and settled largely along the waterways. The British took control of the region in 1762 after France was defeated in the French and Indian War. Britain ceded the territory to the newly independent United States after Britain’s defeat in the American Revolutionary War.