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Michigan Local Business Directory

Part of the Great Lakes region of the United States, Michigan derives its name from the Ojibwa word for Big Water. This moniker accurately describes the state, which comprises two peninsulas and is bordered by four of the five Great Lakes. Roughly 41 percent of Michigan's area is covered by water. Originally inhabited by the Algonquian tribes, Michigan was a fertile hunting ground for French fur traders during the early explorations of this region of North America. The development of the Erie Canal led to rapid growth in Michigan and opened up trade routes along the Hudson River to deliver goods to New England and the Atlantic coastal states. Michigan became a state in 1837 and quickly became a major economic force in the Great Lakes area.

In the 20th century, Michigan became the national center for automobile production. Highland Park in Detroit was the location chosen for Henry Ford's assembly line and produced Model T vehicles for the consumer market. Other automakers followed Ford's lead, attracted to Michigan for its deep labor pools and shipping capabilities. Michigan also led the nation in commercial radio broadcasts, launching the first commercial radio station in 1920.

The industrial base established in Michigan continues to impact its economy today. Research and development of new products is one of the most important economic activities in the state. Tourism is also vital to Michigan's economy and provides employment opportunities for as many as 190,000 residents. Popular attractions include the Detroit Zoo, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, the National Cherry Festival and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

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