U.S.A. facts & history in brief
Detroit in Michigan State is the
seventh largest city in the U.S.
Detroit growth and development
was aided by its strategic
location on the Detroit River,
connecting the upper Great Lakes
and the lower Great Lakes, and by
its extensive transport links
with other major centres.
In 1701 A fort and trading post
was established by Antoine de
La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac.
The name Detroit comes from
the original settlement's full
name, Pontchartrain d'Étroit
(Pontchartrain "of the strait").
In 1760, the British captured
the fort during the
French and Indian War.
Pontiac, the Ottawa leader
organised the Great Lakes
and Ohio Valley tribes in
1763 to drive the British
out and re-establish Native
His five-month siege,
In 1805 Detroit became
capital of Michigan Territory.
A fire nearly destroyed
Detroit rapid growth begin
around 1818 with the steam
navigation on the Great
Lakes and the surrender of
Michigan lands by
The opening of the Erie Canal in
1825, also helped Detroit's early
growth by reducing travel time
between New York and
Detroit to one-tenth.
The city was a major terminal for
settlers of the northern Midwest
and a major site for shipbuilding
and related activities.
After the admission of Michigan to
the Union in 1837, Detroit
became the state capital.
After the opening of the railway
links to Chicago and other centres
in mid 1800s, Detroit became an
important transfer and processing
point for products such as timber
and grain from the interior.
The development of manufacturing
followed and by the end of the 19th
century Detroit had grown into a
major industrial centre manufacturing
chemicals, ships, iron, steel,
stoves, wheels and axles,
leather, and engines.
In 1899, the first motor car
factory was established by Ransom
Eli Olds and followed by
Henry Ford in 1903.
In the 1910s and 1920s with the
introduction of mass production
the rapid growth of the population
continued, only to slow down
during the years of
the Great Depression.
The strike by car workers in
1936 and 1937 was one of the significant
events in the city's history.
During World War II Detroit's
industry was converted its
operations to the manufacturing
of military equipment like tanks,
aircraft, and amphibious vehicles.
During the war and early post-war years,
the city's economy was booming.
While the city experienced another
wave of immigration and reached a
peak population in 1957 of about 1,850,000.
Detroit's main manufacturing activities
are generating many products associated
with the car industry, other goods
include steel, metal products, machine
tools, office machines,
pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
General Motors Corporation,
Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler
Corporation have their international
headquarters and many service-oriented
industries in research, design,
finance, accounting, advertising,
and public relations are in the city.
Detroit's city centre is still on
the Detroit River where the city's
first white settlers landed in 1701.
The main arterial roads and motorway
system radiate outwards to the suburbs
and district like the spokes of a wheel
on the original trails made
by Native Americans.
On the city riverfront is
the Civic Centre, with the
City-County Building, Henry
and Edsel Ford Auditorium,
Cobo Hall and Arena, Joe Louis
Sports Arena, and Hart Plaza.
Nearby is the Tiger Stadium,
the Medical Centre, the Wayne
State University medical school,
the General Motors and Fisher
buildings, the Pewabic Pottery,
the Fort Wayne Military Museum,
the Wayne State University, the
Detroit Cultural Centre, the Detroit
Public Library, the Detroit Historical
Museum, the Horace H. Rackham
Educational Memorial, the Centre
for Creative Studies and the
Detroit Institute of the Arts.
As most big American cities, Detroit
experienced racial tension, city
bankruptcy, social stress and
In the succeeding years,
culminating in serious race
riots in the summer of 1967.
In 1973 Coleman Young was
elected Detroit's first black
mayor, he served a record five terms.
Population just over 1 million.
Detroit was a city that Hui Chin
and I came to explore and enjoy
but couldn't get out quick enough.
As usual joined a city sightseeing
tour to make sure that we will see
everything worth seeing by experts.
A taxi driver sensing that we were
from overseas diddled us out
of a lot of money.
I hope he'll need it for medication.
He overcharged us by a country mile,
according to his own peers.
Left us with a sour taste in our mouth.
When Hui Chin and I recall or
hear about Detroit, you can
guess what we remember first.
On our nine weeks in Tahiti, Easter Island, the South,
Central and North America trip he was the third ratbag,
scumbag, and lowlife taking advantage of us by ripping
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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