The state of Michigan was explored and then settled during the 17th century by the French voyagers. They reached Michigan in 1622 and the first settlement was founded in 1668. From the early 1660s, Michigan was part of New France. While the American Revolutionary War was being fought, Detroit became important to the British as a supply center. While the War of 1812 was being fought, the area of Detroit was surrendered, but then regained by Americans in 1813. By 1830, Michigan had many settlers who were farming and shipping ore, lumber, and grain.
Public education systems began to be set up with the University of Michigan in 1817, Ypsilanti Normal College in 1849, which is now known as Eastern Michigan University, and Michigan State University in 1855. During the year of 1899, one college, Michigan State Normal College, was a first to set up a four year program. Some private colleges were then founded as well as high schools. In the 20th century, the auto industry transformed the state. It brought jobs and a good economy to the state of Michigan. People from all over the world came to Michigan for work and housing became hard to find as the city had to catch up to the expanding population. Michigan has a population of 9,883,600 as of 2010 and is still the number eight ranked state in the nation for population. Michigan is known for its large and diverse population of the Finnish, Macedonian, and Dutch populations. Approximately 80% of Michigan is Caucasian. The Western portion of Michigan has many Dutch residents residing there.
Most know Michigan to be called The Wolverine State, and the mascot of the University of Michigan is the wolverine. Some say the name comes from the trade in the early days of wolverine furs in the 18th century, but today actual wolverines are very rare in the state. Michigan has also been known to others as the Great Lakes State and the Mitten State. The state bird was established in 1931 and is the American Robin. The state flower became official in 1997 and is the Apple Blossom and the state tree named in 1955 is the White pine. There are many attractions that tourists come to see when visiting the state of Michigan, such as The Henry Ford, the Detroit Zoo, and the many museums that the state offers, such as the Detroit Historical Museum and the Arab American National Museum. The state has four big casinos that visitors often enjoy.