Founded Detroit

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Detroit  (French: Détroit, lit. 'strait') is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest American city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

Detroit is a major port located on the Detroit River, one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakessystem to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The Detroit Metropolitan Airport is among the most important hubs in the United States. The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest regional economy in the Midwest, behind Chicagoand ahead of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, and the 13th-largest in the United States. Detroit and its neighboring Canadian city Windsor are connected through a tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international crossing in North America. Detroit is best known as the center of the U.S. automobile industry, and the "Big Three" auto manufacturers General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are all headquartered in Metro Detroit.

In 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, the future city of Detroit. During the 19th century, it became an important industrial hub at the center of the Great Lakes region. With expansion of the auto industry in the early 20th century, the city and its suburbs experienced rapid growth, and by the 1940s, the city had become the fourth-largest in the country. However, due to industrial restructuring, the loss of jobs in the auto industry, and rapid suburbanization, Detroit lost considerable population from the late 20th century to the present. Since reaching a peak of 1.85 million at the 1950 census, Detroit's population has declined by more than 60 percent. In 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, which it successfully exited in December 2014, when the city government regained control of Detroit's finances.

Detroit's diverse culture has had both local and international influence, particularly in music, with the city giving rise to the genres of Motown and techno, and playing an important role in the development of jazz, hip-hop, rock, and punk music. The erstwhile rapid growth of Detroit left a globally unique stock of architectural monuments and historic places, and since the 2000s conservation efforts managed to save many architectural pieces and allowed several large-scale revitalizations, including the restoration of several historic theatres and entertainment venues, high-rise renovations, new sports stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project. More recently, the population of Downtown Detroit, Midtown Detroit, and various other neighborhoods has increased. An increasingly popular tourist destination, Detroit receives 19 million visitors per year. In 2015, Detroit was named a "City of Design" by UNESCO, the first U.S. city to receive that designation.

Early settlement

Paleo-Indian people inhabited areas near Detroit as early as 11,000 years ago including the culture referred to as the Mound-builders. In the 17th century, the region was inhabited by Huron, Odawa, Potawatomi and Iroquoispeoples.

The first Europeans did not penetrate into the region and reach the straits of Detroit until French missionaries and traders worked their way around the League of the Iroquois, with whom they were at war, and other Iroquoian tribes in the 1630s. The north side of Lake Erie was held by the Huron and Neutral peoples until the 1650s, when the Iroquois pushed both and the Erie people away from the lake and its beaver-rich feeder streams in the Beaver Wars of 1649–1655. By the 1670s, the war-weakened Iroquois laid claim to as far south as the Ohio River valley in northern Kentucky as hunting grounds, and had absorbed many other Iroquoian peoples after defeating them in war. For the next hundred years, virtually no British, colonist, or French action was contemplated without consultation with, or consideration of the Iroquois' likely response. When the French and Indian War evicted the Kingdom of France from Canada, it removed one barrier to British colonists migrating west.

British negotiations with the Iroquois would both prove critical and lead to a Crown policy limiting the west of the Alleghenies settlements below the Great Lakes, which gave many American would-be migrants a casus belli for supporting the American Revolution. The 1778 raids and resultant 1779 decisive Sullivan Expedition reopened the Ohio Country to westward emigration, which began almost immediately, and by 1800 white settlers were pouring westwards.

Later settlement

The city was named by French colonists, referring to the Detroit River (French: le détroit du lac Érié, meaning the strait of Lake Erie), linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie; in the historical context, the strait included the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.

On July 24, 1701, the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, along with more than a hundred other settlers began constructing a small fort on the north bank of the Detroit River. Cadillac would later name the settlement Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. France offered free land to colonists to attract families to Detroit; when it reached a total population of 800 in 1765, it was the largest European settlement between Montreal and New Orleans, both also French settlements. By 1773, the population of Detroit was 1,400. By 1778, its population was up to 2,144 and it was the third-largest city in the Province of Quebec.

The region's economy was based on the lucrative fur trade, in which numerous Native American people had important roles. The flag of Detroit reflects its French colonial heritage. Descendants of the earliest French and French-Canadian settlers formed a cohesive community, who gradually were replaced as the dominant population after more Anglo-American settlers came to the area in the early 19th century. Living along the shores of Lakes St. Clair, and south to Monroe and downriver suburbs, the French Canadians of Detroit, also known as Muskrat French, remain a subculture in the region today.

During the French and Indian War (1754–63), the North American front of the Seven Years' War between Britain and France, British troops gained control of the settlement in 1760, shortening its name to Detroit. Several Native American tribes launched Pontiac's Rebellion (1763), and conducted a siege of Fort Detroit, but failed to capture it. In defeat, France ceded its territory in North America east of the Mississippi to Britain following the war.

Following the American Revolutionary War and United States independence, Britain ceded Detroit along with other territory in the area under the Jay Treaty (1796), which established the northern border with Canada. In 1805, fire destroyed most of the Detroit settlement, which consisted mostly of wooden buildings. One stone fort, a river warehouse, and brick chimneys of former wooden homes were the sole structures to survive. Of the 600 Detroiters who populated the area, none died in the fire.

19th century

From 1805 to 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan (first the territory, then the state). Detroit surrendered without a fight to British troops during the War of 1812 in the Siege of Detroit. The Battle of Frenchtown (January 18–23, 1813) was part of a United States effort to retake the city, and American troops suffered their highest fatalities of any battle in the war. This battle is commemorated at River Raisin National Battlefield Park south of Detroit in Monroe County. Detroit was finally recaptured by the United States later that year.

It was incorporated as a city in 1815.  As the city expanded, a geometric street plan developed by Augustus B. Woodward was followed, featuring grand boulevards as in Paris.

Prior to the American Civil War, the city's access to the Canada–US border made it a key stop for refugee slaves gaining freedom in the North along the Underground Railroad. Many went across the Detroit River to Canada to escape pursuit by slave catchers. There were estimated to be 20,000 to 30,000 African-American refugees who settled in Canada. George DeBaptiste was considered to be the "president" of the Detroit Underground Railroad, William Lambert the "vice president" or "secretary" and Laura Haviland the "superintendent".

Numerous men from Detroit volunteered to fight for the Union during the American Civil War, including the 24th Michigan Infantry Regiment (part of the legendary Iron Brigade), which fought with distinction and suffered 82% casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. When the First Volunteer Infantry Regiment arrived to fortify Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying "Thank God for Michigan!" George Armstrong Custer led the Michigan Brigade during the Civil War and called them the "Wolverines".

During the late 19th century, several Gilded Age mansions reflecting the wealth of industry and shipping magnates were built east and west of the current downtown, along the major avenues of the Woodward plan. Most notable among them was the David Whitney House located at 4421 Woodward Avenue, which became a prime location for mansions. During this period some referred to Detroit as the Paris of the West for its architecture, grand avenues in the Paris style, and for Washington Boulevard, recently electrified by Thomas Edison. The city had grown steadily from the 1830s with the rise of shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit emerged as a major port and transportation hub.

In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue. During this growth period, Detroit expanded its borders by annexing all or part of several surrounding villages and townships.

20th century

In 1903, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. Ford's manufacturing—and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge Brothers, Packard, and Walter Chrysler—established Detroit's status in the early 20th century as the world's automotive capital. The growth of the auto industry was reflected by changes in businesses throughout the Midwest and nation, with the development of garages to service vehicles and gas stations, as well as factories for parts and tires.

With the rapid growth of industrial workers in the auto factories, labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor and the United Auto Workers fought to organize workers to gain them better working conditions and wages. They initiated strikes and other tactics in support of improvements such as the 8-hour day/40-hour work week, increased wages, greater benefits and improved working conditions. The labor activism during those years increased influence of union leaders in the city such as Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters and Walter Reuther of the Autoworkers.

The city became the 4th-largest in the nation in 1920, after only New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, with the influence of the booming auto industry.

The prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933 resulted in the Detroit River becoming a major conduit for smuggling of illegal Canadian spirits.

Detroit, like many places in the United States, developed racial conflict and discrimination in the 20th century following rapid demographic changes as hundreds of thousands of new workers were attracted to the industrial city; in a short period it became the 4th-largest city in the nation. The Great Migration brought rural blacks from the South; they were outnumbered by southern whites who also migrated to the city. Immigration brought southern and eastern Europeans of Catholic and Jewish faith; these new groups competed with native-born whites for jobs and housing in the booming city. Detroit was one of the major Midwest cities that was a site for the dramatic urban revival of the Ku Klux Klan beginning in 1915. "By the 1920s the city had become a stronghold of the KKK," whose members opposed Catholic and Jewish immigrants, as well as black Americans. The Black Legion, a secret vigilante group, was active in the Detroit area in the 1930s, when one-third of its estimated 20,000 to 30,000 members in Michigan were based in the city. It was defeated after numerous prosecutions following the kidnapping and murder in 1936 of Charles Poole, a Catholic Works Progress Administration organizer. A total of 49 men of the Black Legion were convicted of numerous crimes, with many sentenced to life in prison for murder.

In the 1940s the world's "first urban depressed freeway" ever built, the Davison,[35] was constructed in Detroit. During World War II, the government encouraged retooling of the American automobile industry in support of the Allied powers, leading to Detroit's key role in the American Arsenal of Democracy.

Jobs expanded so rapidly that 400,000 people were attracted to the city from 1941 to 1943, including 50,000 blacks in the second wave of the Great Migration, and 350,000 whites, many of them from the South. Some European immigrants and their descendants feared black competition for jobs and housing. The federal government prohibited discrimination in defense work but when in June 1943, Packard promoted three blacks to work next to whites on its assembly lines, 25,000 whites walked off the job. The Detroit race riot of 1943 took place three weeks after the Packard plant protest. Over the course of three days, 34 people were killed, of whom 25 were African American. Approximately another 600 were injured, 75% of which were black people.

Postwar era

Industrial mergers in the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased oligopoly in the American auto industry. Detroit manufacturers such as Packard and Hudson merged into other companies and eventually disappeared. At its peak population of 1,849,568, in the 1950 Census, the city was the 5th-largest in the United States, after New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

In this postwar era, many African Americans from the South viewed the North as the pinnacle of freedom and opportunity distinct from the strict Jim Crow laws and racial discrimination policies in the South, inspiring the Great Migration. With this huge influx of individuals moving into the city, competition arose for employment, housing, and land. Racial discrimination took place in employment keeping the work force intentionally predominantly white. Unequal opportunities in employment created unequal housing opportunities for the majority of the black community. The surge in Detroit's black population with the Great Migration augmented the strain on housing scarcity. Black people were often turned away from bank loans to obtain housing and interest rates and rent were unfairly inflated to keep black people from moving into white neighborhoods. These racist policies were further reinforced with the concept of redlining which encouraged white people to further guard the racial divide that defined their neighborhoods. This marginalized the agency of black Detroiters—another important aspect in the history of postwar Detroit.

As in other major American cities in the postwar era, construction of an extensive highway and freeway system around Detroit and pent-up demand for new housing stimulated suburbanization; highways made commuting by car easier. However, this construction had negative implications for the residents involved. Many of these highways intentionally tore through black neighborhoods (mostly low income or blighted neighborhoods) displacing these individuals without considering the repercussions that this would bring to them. In 1956, Detroit's last heavily used electric streetcar line along the length of Woodward Avenue was removed and replaced with gas-powered buses. It was the last line of what had once been a 534-mile network of electric streetcars. In 1941 at peak times, a streetcar ran on Woodward Avenue every 60 seconds.

All of these changes in the area's transportation system favored low-density, auto-oriented development rather than high-density urban development, and industry also moved to the suburbs. The metro Detroit area developed as one of the most sprawling job markets in the United States by the 21st century, and combined with poor public transport, resulted in many jobs beyond the reach of urban low-income workers.

In 1950, the city held about one-third of the state's population, anchored by its industries and workers. Over the next sixty years, the city's population declined to less than 10 percent of the state's population. During the same time period, the sprawling Detroit metropolitan area, which surrounds and includes the city, grew to contain more than half of Michigan's population. The shift of population and jobs eroded Detroit's tax base.

In June 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a major speech in Detroit that foreshadowed his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., two months later. While the civil rights movement gained significant federal civil rights laws in 1964 and 1965, longstanding inequities resulted in confrontations between the police and inner city black youth wanting change. Longstanding tensions in Detroit culminated in the Twelfth Street riot in July 1967. Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Johnson sent in U.S. Army troops. The result was 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed, mostly in black residential and business areas. Thousands of small businesses closed permanently or relocated to safer neighborhoods. The affected district lay in ruins for decades. It was the most costly riot in the United States.

On August 18, 1970, the NAACP filed suit against Michigan state officials, including Governor William Milliken, charging de facto public school segregation. The NAACP argued that although schools were not legally segregated, the city of Detroit and its surrounding counties had enacted policies to maintain racial segregation in public schools. The NAACP also suggested a direct relationship between unfair housing practices and educational segregation, which followed segregated neighborhoods. The District Court held all levels of government accountable for the segregation in its ruling. The Sixth Circuit Court affirmed some of the decision, holding that it was the state's responsibility to integrate across the segregated metropolitan area. The U.S. Supreme Court took up the case February 27, 1974. The subsequent Milliken v. Bradley decision had nationwide influence. In a narrow decision, the Supreme Court found that schools were a subject of local control and that suburbs could not be forced to solve problems in the city's school district.

"Milliken was perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of that period," said Myron Orfield, professor of law at the University of Minnesota. "Had that gone the other way, it would have opened the door to fixing nearly all of Detroit's current problems." John Mogk, a professor of law and an expert in urban planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, says, "Everybody thinks that it was the riots [in 1967] that caused the white families to leave. Some people were leaving at that time but, really, it was after Milliken that you saw mass flight to the suburbs. If the case had gone the other way, it is likely that Detroit would not have experienced the steep decline in its tax base that has occurred since then."

The prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933 resulted in the Detroit River becoming a major conduit for smuggling of illegal Canadian spirits.

Detroit, like many places in the United States, developed racial conflict and discrimination in the 20th century following rapid demographic changes as hundreds of thousands of new workers were attracted to the industrial city; in a short period it became the 4th-largest city in the nation. The Great Migration brought rural blacks from the South; they were outnumbered by southern whites who also migrated to the city. Immigration brought southern and eastern Europeans of Catholic and Jewish faith; these new groups competed with native-born whites for jobs and housing in the booming city. Detroit was one of the major Midwest cities that was a site for the dramatic urban revival of the Ku Klux Klan beginning in 1915. "By the 1920s the city had become a stronghold of the KKK," whose members opposed Catholic and Jewish immigrants, as well as black Americans. The Black Legion, a secret vigilante group, was active in the Detroit area in the 1930s, when one-third of its estimated 20,000 to 30,000 members in Michigan were based in the city. It was defeated after numerous prosecutions following the kidnapping and murder in 1936 of Charles Poole, a Catholic Works Progress Administration organizer. A total of 49 men of the Black Legion were convicted of numerous crimes, with many sentenced to life in prison for murder.

In the 1940s the world's "first urban depressed freeway" ever built, the Davison, was constructed in Detroit. During World War II, the government encouraged retooling of the American automobile industry in support of the Allied powers, leading to Detroit's key role in the American Arsenal of Democracy.

Jobs expanded so rapidly that 400,000 people were attracted to the city from 1941 to 1943, including 50,000 blacks in the second wave of the Great Migration, and 350,000 whites, many of them from the South. Some European immigrants and their descendants feared black competition for jobs and housing. The federal government prohibited discrimination in defense work but when in June 1943, Packard promoted three blacks to work next to whites on its assembly lines, 25,000 whites walked off the job. The Detroit race riot of 1943 took place three weeks after the Packard plant protest. Over the course of three days, 34 people were killed, of whom 25 were African American. Approximately another 600 were injured, 75% of which were black people.

Postwar era

Industrial mergers in the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased oligopoly in the American auto industry. Detroit manufacturers such as Packard and Hudson merged into other companies and eventually disappeared. At its peak population of 1,849,568, in the 1950 Census, the city was the 5th-largest in the United States, after New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

In this postwar era, many African Americans from the South viewed the North as the pinnacle of freedom and opportunity distinct from the strict Jim Crow laws and racial discrimination policies in the South, inspiring the Great Migration. With this huge influx of individuals moving into the city, competition arose for employment, housing, and land. Racial discrimination took place in employment keeping the work force intentionally predominantly white. Unequal opportunities in employment created unequal housing opportunities for the majority of the black community. The surge in Detroit's black population with the Great Migration augmented the strain on housing scarcity. Black people were often turned away from bank loans to obtain housing and interest rates and rent were unfairly inflated to keep black people from moving into white neighborhoods. These racist policies were further reinforced with the concept of redlining which encouraged white people to further guard the racial divide that defined their neighborhoods. This marginalized the agency of black Detroiters—another important aspect in the history of postwar Detroit.

As in other major American cities in the postwar era, construction of an extensive highway and freeway system around Detroit and pent-up demand for new housing stimulated suburbanization; highways made commuting by car easier. However, this construction had negative implications for the residents involved. Many of these highways intentionally tore through black neighborhoods (mostly low income or blighted neighborhoods) displacing these individuals without considering the repercussions that this would bring to them. In 1956, Detroit's last heavily used electric streetcar line along the length of Woodward Avenue was removed and replaced with gas-powered buses. It was the last line of what had once been a 534-mile network of electric streetcars. In 1941 at peak times, a streetcar ran on Woodward Avenue every 60 seconds.

All of these changes in the area's transportation system favored low-density, auto-oriented development rather than high-density urban development, and industry also moved to the suburbs. The metro Detroit area developed as one of the most sprawling job markets in the United States by the 21st century, and combined with poor public transport, resulted in many jobs beyond the reach of urban low-income workers.[

In 1950, the city held about one-third of the state's population, anchored by its industries and workers. Over the next sixty years, the city's population declined to less than 10 percent of the state's population. During the same time period, the sprawling Detroit metropolitan area, which surrounds and includes the city, grew to contain more than half of Michigan's population. The shift of population and jobs eroded Detroit's tax base.

In June 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a major speech in Detroit that foreshadowed his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., two months later. While the civil rights movement gained significant federal civil rights laws in 1964 and 1965, longstanding inequities resulted in confrontations between the police and inner city black youth wanting change. Longstanding tensions in Detroit culminated in the Twelfth Street riot in July 1967. Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Johnson sent in U.S. Army troops. The result was 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed, mostly in black residential and business areas. Thousands of small businesses closed permanently or relocated to safer neighborhoods. The affected district lay in ruins for decades. It was the most costly riot in the United States.

On August 18, 1970, the NAACP filed suit against Michigan state officials, including Governor William Milliken, charging de facto public school segregation. The NAACP argued that although schools were not legally segregated, the city of Detroit and its surrounding counties had enacted policies to maintain racial segregation in public schools. The NAACP also suggested a direct relationship between unfair housing practices and educational segregation, which followed segregated neighborhoods. The District Court held all levels of government accountable for the segregation in its ruling. The Sixth Circuit Court affirmed some of the decision, holding that it was the state's responsibility to integrate across the segregated metropolitan area. The U.S. Supreme Court took up the case February 27, 1974. The subsequent Milliken v. Bradley decision had nationwide influence. In a narrow decision, the Supreme Court found that schools were a subject of local control and that suburbs could not be forced to solve problems in the city's school district.

"Milliken was perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of that period," said Myron Orfield, professor of law at the University of Minnesota. "Had that gone the other way, it would have opened the door to fixing nearly all of Detroit's current problems." John Mogk, a professor of law and an expert in urban planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, says, "Everybody thinks that it was the riots [in 1967] that caused the white families to leave. Some people were leaving at that time but, really, it was after Milliken that you saw mass flight to the suburbs. If the case had gone the other way, it is likely that Detroit would not have experienced the steep decline in its tax base that has occurred since then."

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    Name Born / Since / At Died Languages
    1George PeppardGeorge Peppard01.10.192808.05.1994en, pl, ru
    2Kim HunterKim Hunter12.11.192211.09.2002de, en, fr, pl, ru, ua
    3William  BoeingWilliam Boeing01.10.188128.09.1956de, en, fr, lv, pl, ru, ua
    4Henry FordHenry Ford30.07.186307.04.1947de, en, fr, lt, lv, pl, ru
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