The French pronunciation for Michinnimakinong, the Ojibwa name for the area around the Straits of Mackinac.

Controlling the entrance to Lake Michigan, Michilimackinac was a vital stronghold in New France, as well as the center of the fur trade. In 1673, it was the base for Fathers Joliet and Marquette in their expedition into Illinois.

In 1683, Fort de Baude (named after Comte Louis de Baude Frontenac) was built in St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula. It was later renamed Fort Michilimackinac, but was abandoned by commander Comte Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701 at the founding of Detroit.

In 1715, Fort St. Philippe de Michilimackinac was built on the Lower Peninsula near present-day Mackinaw City.

For the next 45 years, the French retained possession of the Straits of Mackinac. But in 1761, during the 1755-1763 French and Indian War, the British captured Fort Michilimackinac from the French. The fort was decimated during Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763 after a group of Ottawa pretending to be a lacrosse team was let into the fort. In 1780, during the American Revolution, the British decided the fort wasn't defended well enough, and abandoned it for Fort Mackinac on nearby Mackinac Island.

The 1783 Treaty of Paris granted all of Michigan to the fledgling United States. Ownership of the Upper peninsula was vague, but also moot as the British continued to hold onto Detroit and Chicago. However, the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers shattered British credibility with local Indians, and left the British position untenable. Facing a war with Revolutionary France, Prime minister William Pitt the Younger cut Britain's losses and signed the 1795 Jay Treaty with the United States, and evacuated the Northwest Territory.

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