Michigan's Early Years
Prior to French, British and American settlement in the region that would become the state of Michigan, a number of different aboriginal groups occupied the area. The main tribal groups were the Ottawa, Menominee, Chippewa, and Miami. Most of the native groups inhabiting the area were Algonquian but there were some Iroquoians as well.
The various indigenous groups that resided in Michigan were not politically unified. When European explorers and settlers began entering the area, much pressure was exerted on these tribes. During the War of Independence, for example, a number of indigenous groups sided with Britain on the assumption the British would be more likely to protect their rights. The aftermath of promises and agreements made to tribes during this period came to have long-term consequences in both Canada and the United States.
The Territory of Michigan (1805-1837)
Following the War of Independence, Michigan continued to be politically contested. The British retained a number of military forts in the region until the 1790s. Furthermore, several battles on land and sea during the War of 1812 involved Michigan. For a time, it seemed likely that Michigan may have to be heavily fortified against British and Canadian forces. Fortunately, the 1814 Treaty of Ghent ended the conflict and peace returned to Michigan. The first half of the 19th century witnessed ever-increasing numbers of American settlers arrive in the state, as feared by the region's indigenous groups.