Michilimackinac is derived from an Odawa name for present-day Mackinac Island and the region around the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Early settlers of North America applied the term to the entire region along Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Today it is considered to be mostly within the boundaries of Michigan, in the United States. Michilimackinac was the original name for present day Mackinac Island and Mackinac County.
The area around the Great Lakes had been occupied by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples. At the time of European contact, the Native American nations of the Ojibwa (called Chippewa in the United States), along with Odawa, inhabited the area. The French were the first Europeans to explore the area, beginning in 1612. They established trading posts and Jesuit Catholic missions.
One of the oldest missions, St. Ignace Mission, was located on the north side of the strait at Point Iroquois, near present-day St. Ignace, Michigan. This mission was established in 1671 by the Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette. The area was already known to the Odawa as Michilimackinac, meaning "Big Turtle". Later, it was called "Old Michilimackinac" or "Ancient Fort Mackinac".
The French later established a fort and settlement on the south side of the strait. It was called Fort Michilimackinac. The fort became a major trading post, attracting Native Americans from throughout the northern Great Lakes. After Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War), their colonial forces took over the fort and territory.
Fort Michilimackinac fell to an Ojibwa attack during the Native American uprising of 1763, sometimes called Pontiac's War. It was reoccupied by the British in September 1764. In 1780, during the American Revolution, British commandant Patrick Sinclair moved the British trading and military post to Mackinac Island, which was held by the British for some time, and abandoned Fort Michilimackinac after the move. After the rebel Americans gained independence in the Revolutionary War, this site became part of a territory of the United States.
Today, Fort Michilimackinac is preserved as a tourist site. Re-enactors portray historic activities of the French and English. An archeological dig at the site is open for viewing.
|Term start||Term end||Commander Name||Picture||Forts and missions in the Michilimackinac area||Missionaries, explorers, and tribal leaders in the Michilimackinac area||Regional Governor (dates)|
|1671||1683||New France did not have a post yet.||St. Ignace Mission||Jacques Marquette (1671–1675), Louis Jolliet (1673–1674), Father Henri Nouvel, "superior of the Otawa mission" (1672–1680 with a two-year break in 1678-1679, and again from 1688 to 1695.)||Governor General of New France -- Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle (1665–1672), Louis de Buade de Frontenac (1672–1682), Joseph-Antoine de La Barre (1682–1685)|
|1683||1690||Olivier Morel de La Durantaye||St. Ignace Mission||Father Henri Nouvel "superior of the Otawa mission"||Joseph-Antoine de La Barre (1682–1685), Jacques-René de Brisay de Denonville, Marquis de Denonville (1685-1689)|
|1690?||1691?||François de la Forêt (Tonty 2nd in command)||St. Ignace Mission||Father Henri Nouvel "superior of the Otawa mission"||Jacques-René de Brisay de Denonville, Marquis de Denonville (1685-1689)|
|1691?||1694||Louis de La Porte de Louvigné||Fort de Buade and St. Ignace Mission||Nicolas Perrot (1690–???)||Louis de Buade de Frontenac (second term) (1689–1698)|
|1694||1696||Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac||Fort de Buade and St. Ignace Mission (abandoned by 1705)||Étienne de Carheil 1686–1702||Louis de Buade de Frontenac (second term) (1689–1698)|
|1696||1714||(Post abandoned by New France in favor of Detroit)||St. Ignace Mission||Father Étienne de Carheil 1686–1702. Kondiaronk "Le Rat" / Chief of the Hurons. Father Joseph Marest (1700–1714)||Louis-Hector de Callière (1698–1703) Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil (1703 to 1725)|
|1715||Constant le Marchand de Lignery||Fort Michilimackinac||Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil (1703–1725)|
|1722||1725||Constant le Marchand de Lignery||Fort Michilimackinac||Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil (1703–1725), Charles le Moyne de Longueuil, Baron de Longueuil (acting governor 1726)|
|1729||???||Jacques-Charles Renaud Dubuisson||Fort Michilimackinac||Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois (1725–1747)|
|1730||1733||Jacques Testard de Montigny||Fort Michilimackinac||Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois (1725–1747)|
|1738||1742||Pierre Joseph Céloron de Blainville ||Fort Michilimackinac||Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois (1725–1747)|
|1744||1744||Monsier de Vivchevet  ||Fort Michilimackinac||Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois (1725–1747)|
|1745||1745||Louis de la Corne, Chevalier de la Corne||Fort Michilimackinac||Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois (1725–1747)|
|1745||1747||Nicolas-Joseph de Noyelles de Fleurimont  ||Fort Michilimackinac||Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois (1725–1747)|
|1748||1750||Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre ||Fort Michilimackinac||Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière (1747–1749)|
|1750||1750||Monsieuer Duplessis Faber ||Fort Michilimackinac||Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel de la Jonquière, Marquis de la Jonquière (1749–1752)|
|1753||1753||Louis Liénard de Beaujeu de Villemonde ||Fort Michilimackinac||Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville (1752–1755)|
|1754||1754||Monsieur Herbin||Fort Michilimackinac||Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville (1752–1755)|