Indians entered Michigan several thousand years ago. The earliest people were probably nomadic hunters. Later, the area was settled by mound builders and by tribes who may have mined copper on what is now Isle Royale. When European explorers arrived in the 17th century, there were about 15,000 Indians scattered throughout the region. The principal tribes were the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa, or Ojibway—all members of the Algonquian language family—and the Huron, or Wyandot, of the Iroquoian family.

Important dates in Michigan
1620? Etienne Brule, a French explorer, visited what is now Michigan.
1668 Jacques Marquette founded Michigan's first permanent European settlement at Sault Ste. Marie.
1701 Antoine Cadillac founded what is now Detroit.
1763 The British received almost all of France’s territory in North America, including Michigan.
1783 The United States gained Michigan from the British after the Revolutionary War in America.
1787 The U.S. Congress made Michigan part of the Northwest Territory.
1800 Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory.
1805 Congress created the Territory of Michigan.
1837 Michigan became the 26th state on January 26.
1845 The Michigan iron mining industry began near Negaunee.
1854 The Republican Party was formally named at Jackson.
1855 The first of the Soo Canals was completed.
1899 Ransom E. Olds established Michigan's first automobile factory in Detroit.
1935 Michigan workers formed the United Automobile Workers union.
1942-1945 Michigan's entire automobile industry converted to war production during World War II.
1957 The Mackinac Bridge was opened to traffic between Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula.
1964 Michigan's new Constitution went into effect.
1967 Michigan's Legislature adopted a state income tax.
1992 The Michigan Scenic Rivers Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. It protects more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) along 14 Michigan rivers from development.
2003 Jennifer Granholm became the first woman to be elected governor of Michigan. She took office in 2003.