The History of Mackinaw Island
History of Mackinaw Page 1
Located just north of Michigan lies a unique little island that may be small in size but large in history. Glaciers once covered this land and after they began to recede a unique landscape was revealed as was the opening for its place in history. The Mackinac Island’s history has been due in large part to its geographical location and terrain makeup.
The island is about 4 square miles and is today a place for tourism in the great lakes. Many thousands of years ago though this was a little piece of land with bluffs reaching high above its surroundings and was a merely a small piece of land surrounded by water. It was because of these bluffs the appearance of the island resembled a turtle and led to it being named “The Great Turtle” (Piljac, 1998). Currently the island reaches several hundred feet above the lake and it’s because of this geography that many nations saw this as a perfect military post and would be used over and over again throughout its history as such.
The island was first home to Native Americans long before Europeans started settling there. The Great Lakes American Indians were the first to visit and use this island as a resource for their own livelihood. Primarily during the summer they would travel and fish here due to the abundance of food in the surrounding waters. The first known tribe to have inhabited the island was the Anishinaabe tribe. Artifacts such has arrow heads, fish hooks and pottery have been found and dated back to as early as 900 A.D. (Mackinaw Island). In 1671, Europeans began settling here when a man named Father Jacques Marquette created the first mission on the Island. He originally setup this mission for the local Huron Indians. Not long after the mission was setup it was moved to the north side of the island and then seemly moved over and over to several parts of the island in the following years.
History of Mackinaw Page 2
In 1708, the French saw this location as a base for trade. Specifically they saw it for the fur trade and for that reason they created Fort Michilimackinac. The trade originally began there along what is known as the straights but was eventually moved in 1714 to what is now modern day Mackinaw city (Brown, 1994). In 1761 the British took control and drove out the French after the Seven Years War victory. Several years later the British setup a military fort on the island due to its large limestone bluffs.
The island once again changed hands to the control of the Americans after the Revolutionary War. It wasn’t until 1783 though that the island officially belong to America with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The island once again saw war between American and the British in 1812. On July 17th the British snuck onto the island and was able to get within canon range of the fort. The British fired a loan shot that with it carried a message...