A long time ago, the world was much bigger than what people knew at the time. It's kind of like us not knowing about other parts of the world, except back then they didn't even know there were other parts of the world.
That all changed in 1492 when Christopher Columbus set sail from the country of Spain in search of a new route to India. He headed west across the Atlantic Ocean and eventually sighted land which he believed was India. However, after some time he realized what he had done was discover was a whole new part of the world. Until then neither the native who live in this part of the world or the people from Europe where Columbus lived knew that each other existed.
The map above shows the routes that Columbus took in his travels to the new world. In the upper left-hand corner is North America where we live. In the upper right-hand corner is Spain where Columbus lived. Notice that he traveled back and forth to the area of the islands around Cuba. He still was not aware North America -- that would come later.
This discovery led to many countries like Spain, England and France sending people here to explore the new world. (Explore, Explorer, Exploring: Means finding something new.)Settlements eventually were established along the eastern shores of our continent. Goods were shipped back and forth, and more settlements would spring up.
The French mainly explored the Canadian area of North America. The French explorer, Jean Nicolet discovered Michigan in 1634. Father Pere Marquette, a French Catholic missionary, was the first white person to enter our area, but it wasn't until the late 1700s and early 1800s that white people regularly tarveled to and from our area. They were mainly furtraders who came to tramp animals for their skins (hides) and furs. These were taken back to settlements like Detroit or shipped back to Europe to be sold. Animal skins were used to make many useful things like clothing, shoes, pouches (bags), hats, straps and many other items.
A New Country And Independence.
It wasn't until July 4, 1776 that our country, the United States of America, declared it's independence from Great Britain and become a nation. This was done by the pilgrims (settlers) who came from England and set up colonies (settlements) along the east coast of the North American continent. They fought with England for many years in a Revolutionary War before winning their freedom. In 1777, they completed their first constitution (principles of governoring themselves) called the [Articles of Confederation].
The new country consisted of thirteen (13) States made up of the original colonies. The constitution gave the States the greatest power of governing people within each of the new States. The national government's role was diplomacy (interacting with other countries) and providing defense for the States against threats from other countries.
Can you name the original 13 states? The abbreviation of each state name is shown on the map. Click [Here] for a large map of the United States if you need help.
Michigan Becomes A New State.
After the United States of America was formed new States were added in the years that followed. People began settling further to the west and south of the original colonies. These new territorial settlements eventually became new States.
Michigan which was a large territory before before it became a State, and this is shown in the map to the left. When it became the 26th State in 1837, it was reduced in size (light gray area).
The largest settlement was in [Detroit] which is still the largest city in Michigan today. Detroit was first settled in 1701 by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, as a military post for France to keep England from making claim to the new territory. While the French had established earlier forts, Detroit became the largest because of it's location of settlements in Michigan.
In 1805, the Michigan Territory was created by the United States and it's first governor was William Hull. At this time about 900 people lived in Detroit. During the 1830s the population of Michigan grew from about 27,000 people to over 200,000 leading to it becoming a State on January 26, 1837 with Steven T. Mason as it's first governor.
Can you name the three states that share a border with Michigan? Click [Here] for a large map of the United States if you need help.
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