State: Michigan – MI

Published on August 12th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


The Michigan state abbreviation is MI, and that is the first of many pieces of information on this article about one of the 50 U.S. States. This place, located in the Great Lakes Region, is the ten most populated of the 50 states, and is the 11th largest in terms of its total area.

The name comes from the French form of a Ojibwa word: “mishigamaa.” It is also the only state to consist of two peninsulas. Today we’ll look at the geography, climate, economy, and symbols of this place. First we’ll look at some key facts:

  • State Capital: Lansing
  • Largest city: Detroit
  • Admitted to the Union: January 26, 1837 (26th state)
  • Time zones: Eastern UTC -5/-4 (most of the state) Central UTC -6/-5 (4 upper peninsula counties)
  • Nickname(s): The Great Lakes State, The Wolverine State, The Mitten State, Water Wonderland
  • Motto(s): Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.)
  • State bird: American Robin
  • Fish: Brook trout
  • Flower: Apple blossom
  • Reptile: Painted turtle
  • Tree: Eastern white pine
  • Official website: michigan.gov
  • State flag 

map of Michigan in the United States

MI State Overview

The state is divided into two peninsulas: the Lower and Upper otherwise referred to as L.P and U.P. The lower one has been referred to as being shaped like a mitten. The U.P is separated from the lower one by the Straits of Mackinac which is a five-mile channel that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

The Mackinac Bridge connects the two peninsulas. It has the longest freshwater coastline as a result of this unique structure, and it is bordered by four of the five Great Lakes. No matter where you stand in the state, you are never more than 85 miles from the shore of a Great Lake.

The area was first inhabited by a variety of Native American tribes before it was colonized by French colonists in the 17th century. It became a part of New France until after the French and Indian War in 1762 at which point it was ruled over by Britain. The area was given to the U.S. during the American Revolutionary War after the British were defeated.

The Michigan territory was formed in 1805 and the state was admitted to the Union as the 26th state in 1837. While the state has a diverse economy, is most well-known as the center of the automobile industry. The three major automobile company’s headquarters are located in the Detroit metropolitan area.

map of Michigan

Geography and Climate

Michigan is composed to two peninsulas and is bordered by four of the Great Lakes: Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. There are more lighthouse here than in any other state. The Upper Peninsula is covered in forests and has mountains in the west. The Porcupine Mountains are almost 2,000 feet above sea level and are some of the oldest mountains in the world.

This Upper Peninsula is as large as Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island combined, but there are actually less than 330,00 inhabitants in this area. The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten, which results in many residents simply holding up their hands to indicate where they are from.

Since the Upper Peninsula is so far away geographically from the lower one, many people have called for secession from Michigan and turning the Upper Peninsula into its own state called “Superior.” There are 78 state parks, 19 recreation areas, and 6 state forests. The largest forest and park in the U.S. are located here.

The climate is classified as continental, but there are two differing regions. the Lower Peninsula has a warmer climate with hot summers and cold winters. The Upper Peninsula has a more severe climate with short summers and very cold winters.

There is an average of 30 days of thunderstorms per year, and about 17 tornadoes per year. These are more prevalent in the Lower Peninsula.

Michigan’s Economy

In 2013, the gross amount of state product was estimated to be $408.218 billion, making it the 13th highest grossing state. The economy is greatly varied between things like automobiles, food products, military equipment, copper and iron ore, and more. The state is also the leading grower of Christmas trees. Over 60,520 acres of land are dedicated to growing and harvesting these trees.

It is known as the center of the automobile industry because the three largest automobile manufacturers have their headquarters here: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. This state is second only to California in terms of the wide variety of agriculture that contributes to the economy.

There are 54,800 farms in the state across 10 million acres of land. The highest valued item is milk, but corn, soybeans, flowers, wheat, sugar beets, and potatoes are also leading products.  This is also the leading grower of fruit in the U.S:

  • Blueberries
  •  Cherries
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches.

Next we’ll take a look at some of the state symbols, including the flag and seal.

State Flag and Seal

The Great Seal shows the coat of arms which depicts the sun rising over a lake and peninsula. It also shows a man holding a long gun with a raised hand that represents both peace and the ability to defend his rights. An elk and moose are depicted to represent the state, and a bald eagle symbolizes the U.S.

There are three Latin mottos depicted on the seal:

  • E Puribus Unum (Out of many, one)
  • Tuebor (I will defend)
  • Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)

The state flag depicts the coat-of-arms on a dark blue field. This was put into law by the legislature in 1911. There was an official pledge of allegiance to the state flag written by Harold G. Coburn and adopted in 1972. It goes as follows:

  • “I pledge allegiance to the flag of Michigan, and to the state for which it stands, two beautiful peninsulas united by a bridge of steel, where equal opportunity and justice to all is our ideal.” 

Final Thoughts

The state of Michigan is a unique one in both its economy and the fact that it is composed of two Peninsulas. For more information, check out our Michigan state facts to continue learning about this place. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments below!

printable map of michigan



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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