There’s a lot to love about the Mitten. Home to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks, Motor City and more, the Great Lakes State has a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. Michigan has brought us music like Motown, ingenuity like the automobile and flavor like the Michigan cherry. This month, we celebrate the birth of a state that brought us more than we can imagine. But, how exactly did it become a state?
One hundred eighty-two years ago, Michigan became the 26th state to join the Union. On January 26, 1837, President Andrew Jackson signed a bill that would officially give Michigan its statehood.
To become a state, Michigan had to establish its borders. It was at this time that they included Toledo because of its location on Lake Erie and the Saint Lawrence Seaway system, a shipping lane linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean together. Ohio blocked the petition and sent an armed militia to occupy the territory.
After what was thankfully a nonviolent dispute, President Andrew Jackson and Congress gave Toledo to Ohio and, as consolation, awarded 9,000 square miles of land in the Upper Peninsula to Michigan during what was called the “Frostbitten Convention.”
The 1836 Treaty of Washington can also be credited for the statehood of Michigan becoming a reality. The agreement was between the U.S. government and the Anishinaabek, a collective of Odawa and Ojibway Native Americans. As a part of the agreement, the Anishnaabek tribes handed over 13,837,207 acres of the lower peninsula’s northwest region and the Upper Peninsula’s eastern region the U.S.
The land given to the U.S. totals 40 percent of the area now known as Michigan. Without this treaty, Michigan wouldn’t have had the land needed for statehood.