Michigan collection  1759-1959
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Prior to European contact, present-day Michigan was inhabited by several major Native American groups, including the Ojibwe, Menominee, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, Wyandot, Kickapoo, and Miami. Approximately 15,000 native people lived in the upper and lower peninsulas in 1621, when Étienne Brûlé became the first European to explore Michigan. The area received its first permanent European settlement in 1668, when Father Jacques Marquette founded a mission at Sault Ste. Marie. In the 18th century, both peninsulas served as important hunting, trapping, and trading grounds, and the British and French disputed their ownership. Present-day Michigan became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787, although the British continued to occupy Fort Detroit until 1796. In 1805, the Territory of Michigan was created, with Detroit as its capital; the territory became the 26th state to join the union on January 26, 1837.