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Michigan

A map of MichiganMichigan is located in the Midwest region of the United States. Its two parts, Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula, are separated by the narrow Straits of Mackinac, which links Lake Michigan with Lake Huron, and crossed by the Mackinac Bridge. The Upper Peninsula is known as the U.P. (its residents call themselves Yoopers). The eastern portion has swampy lowlands with ridges rising sharply from the Lake Superior shoreline. Farther west are forested mountains. The Lower Peninsula, often described as being shaped like a mitten, occupies nearly two-thirds of the Michigan’s land area. Its level plains are broken by conical hills and glacial moraines, which form low ridges.



Northwestern Lower Peninsula landscape in autumn
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan

Name

The name Michigan is from the French version—Michigane—of the Native American Ojibwe word mishigamaa or mishigami, meaning "large water" or "large lake”, a reference to Lake Michigan. The Ojibwe (or Chippewa) were one of the resident Native American peoples when French explorer Étienne Brûlé and his party landed at Sault Ste. Marie in 1618. The French founded a number of trading posts and settlements (including Detroit) in the area around the Great Lakes known to them as Pays d’en Haut, meaning “Upper Country”. France lost the territory to the British in 1763.

Climate

The Upper Peninsula is known as the U.P. (its residents call themselves Yoopers). Occasionally, U.P. residents have campaigned to break away from Michigan and establishing a new, separate state to be called "Superior".

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