Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French version of the word ‘mishigamaa’ from the Ojibwa culture, which means ‘large water’ or ‘large lake’. The capital of this state is Lansing and the largest city is Detroit. Michigan consists of two peninsulas, which are joined by the Mackinac Bridge. You can find the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world here and it is bounded by four of the five Great Lakes. This affords it the status of being one of the leading US states for recreational boating. Michigan also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds. The thickly forested Upper Peninsula is quite mountainous in the west and the Porcupine Mountains are part of the oldest mountain chains in the world. The Great Lakes that border Michigan from east to west are Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state.
Although Michigan boasts a diverse economy, it is known mainly as the centre of the US automotive industry, home to the headquarters of the three major American automobile companies. The Upper Peninsula, whilst sparsely populated, is economically important due to its status as a tourist destination and its abundance of natural resources. It is the Lower Peninsula that is the centre of manufacturing, services and high-tech industry.
Most of the population is Caucasian including large European American groups such as German, Irish, Polish, Belgian and British. There are many Scandinavian, Finnish and Dutch citizens. African Americans who came to Detroit in the Great Migration of the early 20th Century, form a majority of the population of the city of Detroit, Flint and Benton Harbour.
Michigan is home to a number of areas maintained by the National Park Service including Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Huron National Forest, Manistee National Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, Ottawa National Forest and Father Marquette National Memorial.
The climate is ‘continental’. The southern parts of the Lower Peninsula have a warmer climate with hot summers and cold winters. The northern part of the Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula have more severe climates with warm but shorter summers and longer, colder winters. During the winter through the middle of February, the state is frequently subjected to heavy lake-effected snow. The entire area averages 30 days of thunderstorm activity every year, which can be sever, especially in the southern part of the state. On average every year, there are 17 tornadoes, more common in the southern portion of the state. Further up north, tornadoes are rare.
Michigan local foods range from bakeries to wineries. The cuisine here is simple and hearty and makes much use of the abundance of locally grown produce. From fresh fruit to dairy, freshwater fish, beef, grain, soybeans, wheat and corn, this region produces a wide range of foods locally that make up the heart of its commonly eaten, ‘comforting’ cuisine.