1805 : Michigan Designated a Territory

January 11, 2018 all-day

On January 11, 1805, President Thomas Jefferson signed an act establishing the Michigan Territory.

When Ohio became a state in 1803, the present-day state of Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Since the territorial capital was in Vincennes — a long distance (350 miles and no roads) from Michigan’s population center of Detroit — Michiganders lobbied for their own territory. Communication between the Indiana territorial leadership and Detroit was so poor, that when Gov. William Henry Harrison ordered an election to be held in the territory, the order never reached Detroit and Detroiters never voted.

The law creating the Michigan Territory took effect in July 1805. It included the Lower Peninsula and the tip of the eastern Peninsula. Over the next several years the territory was expanded to include parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Between 1818 and 1833, Illinois and Indiana became states and the unincorporated land from their territories, plus a handful of other townships, was made part of Michigan Territory.

Between 1833 and 1836, all the remnants of the old Northwest Territory were part of the Michigan Territory along with portions of the Louisiana Purchase.

Michigan shrank in 1836 with the creation of the Wisconsin Territory. Wisconsin Territory was established in 1836 with the present boundary in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan becomes a state of the Union when it agrees to the boundaries dictated by the U.S. Congress, giving up its claim to the Toledo Strip, and accepts the western portion of the Upper Peninsula.

The disputed portion of Michigan Territory referred to as the Toledo Strip.

Sources :

Michigan Territory wikipedia entry

The Mitten, a publication of Michigan History magazine.

Michigan is Amazing

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