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Great Lakes region (North America)

Great Lakes region (North America)

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The Great Lakes region of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, occasionally known as the Third Coast or the Fresh Coast (in reference to its fresh water), includes the eight U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 states
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 as well as the Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 province
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 of Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

. The region geographically borders the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and forms a distinctive historical, economic, and cultural region. The Great Lakes Commission
Great Lakes Commission
The Great Lakes Commission is a United States interstate agency established in 1955 through the Great Lakes Compact, in order to "promote the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin," which includes the Saint Lawrence...

, authorized by the eight American states and Ontario, confirmed by the Canadian and American federal governments recognizes a formal U.S. - Canadian International Great Lakes region

The Great Lakes Basin
Great Lakes Basin
The Great Lakes Basin consists of the Great Lakes and the surrounding lands of the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the United States, and the province of Ontario in Canada, whose direct surface runoff and watersheds form a large...

 is the corresponding geological formation within the larger region. The Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

, the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

-Ohio
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

, and Hudson
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

-Mohawk
Mohawk River
The Mohawk River is a river in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest tributary of the Hudson River. The Mohawk flows into the Hudson in the Capital District, a few miles north of the city of Albany. The river is named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy...

 river systems supplement the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

' watershed.

History


Prior to European settlement, Iroquoian people lived around Lakes Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

 and Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

, Algonquian peoples
Algonquian peoples
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples...

 around most of the rest, and a variety of other indigenous nation-peoples including the Lakotan, Ojibwa, Illinois, Pottawatmie, and Ho-Chunk
Ho-Chunk
The Ho-Chunk, also known as Winnebago, are a tribe of Native Americans, native to what is now Wisconsin and Illinois. There are two federally recognized Ho-Chunk tribes, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska....

 (Winnebago). With the first European settlements in the early seventeenth century, all these nation-peoples developed an extensive fur trade with French, Dutch, and English merchants in the St. Lawrence, Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, and Hudson's Bay, respectively.

Fur monopolies and exploration for the fabled Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

 to Asia generated intense competition among northwestern Europe's major imperial powers to control the territory. A century and a half of naval and land wars among France, The Netherlands and Britain resulted finally in British control of the territory, from the Ohio River to the Arctic, and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, beyond which boundaries it remained disupted among Britain, France, Spain and Russia.

Britain defeated France decisively near Quebec City in 1759, and the 1763 Peace of Paris ceded the entire region to the victor. Britain's claims were intensely disputed by a confederation of Indians during Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's War, Pontiac's Conspiracy, or Pontiac's Rebellion was a war that was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the...

, which induced major concessions.

A basic framework for American settlement in the region was outlined in a series of ordinances immediately upon the 1784 peace treaty with Britain, which ceded lands south of the lakes and north of the Ohio River to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States, passed July 13, 1787...

 of 1787 defined the political protocols by which American states south of the lakes would enter the union as political equals with the original thirteen colonies. The ordinance, adopted in its final form just before the writing of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, was a sweeping, visionary proposal to create what was at the time a radical experiment in democratic governance and economy. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 prohibited slavery, restricted primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, mandated universal public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

, provided for affordable farm land to people who settled and improved it, and required peaceful, lawful treatment of the Indian population. The ordinance prohibited the establishment of state religion and established civic rights that foreshadowed the United States Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

. Civil rights included freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
Cruel and unusual punishment
Cruel and unusual punishment is a phrase describing criminal punishment which is considered unacceptable due to the suffering or humiliation it inflicts on the condemned person...

, trial by jury
Trial by Jury
Trial by Jury is a comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It was first produced on 25 March 1875, at London's Royalty Theatre, where it initially ran for 131 performances and was considered a hit, receiving critical praise and outrunning its...

, and exemption from unreasonable search and seizure
Search and seizure
Search and seizure is a legal procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems whereby police or other authorities and their agents, who suspect that a crime has been committed, do a search of a person's property and confiscate any relevant evidence to the crime.Some countries have...

. States were authorized to organize constitutional conventions and petition for admission as states equal to the original thirteen
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

. Five states evolved from its provisions: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The northeastern section of Minnesota, from the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to St. Croix River, also fell under ordinance jurisdiction and extended the constitution and culture of the Old Northwest to the Dakotas. The surge of settlement generated tension culminating in the Battle of Fallen Timbers
Battle of Fallen Timbers
The Battle of Fallen Timbers was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indian tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and the United States for control of the Northwest Territory...

 in 1794.

Settlement and economic expansion accelerated after the 1825 opening of The Erie Canal
Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is a waterway in New York that runs about from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks and encompasses a total elevation differential of...

, an astonishingly successful public venture that effectively integrated markets and commerce between the Atlantic seaboard and the region. The region on both sides of the border became a vast research and design laboratory for agricultural machinery and techniques. Owner-operator family farms transformed both demographics and ecology into a vast terrain of farmlands, producing primarily wheat and corn. In western New York and northeast Ohio, the St. Lawrence, Mohawk, and Hudson rivers provided outlets for commercial corn and wheat, while The Ohio River let agricultural products from western Pennsylvania and southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois journey downstream to New Orleans. Mining, primarily soft metals of copper, zinc, and lead; and timer to supply rapidly expanding sawmills that supplied lumber for new settlements.

Agricultural and industrial production generated distinctive political and social cultures of independent republican producers, who consolidated an ideology of personal liberty, free markets, and great social visions, often expressed in religious terms and enthusiasms. The region's alliance of antislavery with free soil movements contributed troops and agricultural goods that proved critical in the Union's victory. The Homestead
Homestead Act
A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River....

 and Morrill Acts, donating federal land to extend the agrarian economic franchise, and support state universities, modeled western expansion and education for all future states.

The British-Canadian London Conference of 1866
London Conference of 1866
The London Conference was held in the United Kingdom and began on 4 December 1866, and it was the final in a series of conferences or debates that led to Canadian confederation in 1867. Sixteen delegates from the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick gathered with officials of the...

, and subsequent Constitution Act
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 of 1867 analogously derived from political, and some military, turmoil in the former jurisdiction of Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

, which was renamed and organized in the new dominion as the Province of Ontario. Like the provisions of the ordinance, Ontario prohibited slavery, made provisions for land distribution to farmers who owned their own land, and mandated universal public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

.

Industrial production, organization, and technology have made the Region among the world's most productive manufacturing centers. Nineteenth century proto-monopolies such as International Harvester, Standard Oil, and United States Steel established the pattern of American centralized industrial consolidation and eventual global dominance. The region hosted the world's greatest concentrations of production for oil, coal, steel, automobiles, synthetic rubber, agricultural machinery, and heavy transport equipment. Agronomy industrialized as well, in meat processing, packaged cereal products, and processed dairy products. In response to disruptions and imbalances of power resulting from so vast a concentration of economic power, industrial workers organized the Congress of Industrial Organizations
Congress of Industrial Organizations
The Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, proposed by John L. Lewis in 1932, was a federation of unions that organized workers in industrial unions in the United States and Canada from 1935 to 1955. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 required union leaders to swear that they were not...

, a coherent agricultural cooperative movement, and the Progressive politics led by Wisconsin's Governor and Senator Robert LaFollette
Robert M. La Follette, Sr.
Robert Marion "Fighting Bob" La Follette, Sr. , was an American Republican politician. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, was the Governor of Wisconsin, and was also a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin...

. State universities, professional social work, and unemployment and workers' compensation were some of the region's permanent contributions to American social policy.

The Great Lakes region has produced globally influential breakthroughs in agricultural technology. Cyrus McCormick
Cyrus McCormick
Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr. was an American inventor and founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which became part of International Harvester Company in 1902.He and many members of the McCormick family became prominent Chicagoans....

's reaper, John Deere's steel plow, and the grain elevator are some of the notable inventions. Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

 and the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 figured prominently in developing nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

. Automobile manufacture developed simultaneously in Ohio and Indiana and became centered in the Detroit area of Michigan. Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

's movable assembly line
Assembly line
An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner using optimally planned logistics to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods...

 drew on regional experience in meat processing
Meat packing industry
The meat packing industry handles the slaughtering, processing, packaging, and distribution of animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep and other livestock...

, agricultural machinery manufacture, and the industrial engineering of steel in revolutionizing the modern era of mass production manufacturing. Chicago-based Montgomery Ward
Montgomery Ward
Montgomery Ward is an online retailer that carries the same name as the former American department store chain, founded as the world's #1 mail order business in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward, and which went out of business in 2001...

 and Sears Roebuck companies complemented mass manufactures with mass retail distribution.

Chicago and Detroit carry important roles in the field of architecture. William LeBaron Jenney was the architect of the first skyscraper in the world; The Home Insurance Building
Home Insurance Building
The Home Insurance Building was built in 1884 in Chicago, Illinois, USA and destroyed in 1931 to make way for the Field Building . It was the first building to use structural steel in its frame, but the majority of its structure was composed of cast and wrought iron...

 in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 is the first skyscraper because of the use of structural steel in the building. This setup Chicago to this day to hold some of the world's greatest architecture. Less famous, but equally influential, was the 1832 invention of balloon-framing
Framing (construction)
Framing, in construction known as light-frame construction, is a building technique based around structural members, usually called studs, which provide a stable frame to which interior and exterior wall coverings are attached, and covered by a roof comprising horizontal ceiling joists and sloping...

 in Chicago that replaced heavy timber construction requiring massive beams and great woodworking skill with pre-cut timber. This new lumber could be nailed together by farmers and settlers who used it to build homes and barns throughout the western prairies and plains. Wisconsin-born, Chicago-trained Sullivan apprentice Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...

 designed prototypes for architectural designs from the commercial skylight atrium to suburban ranch house.

Contributions to modern transportation include the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

' early airplanes, distinctive Great Lakes freighters
Lake freighter
Lake freighters, or Lakers, are bulk carrier vessels that ply the Great Lakes. The best known was the , the most recent and largest major vessel to be wrecked on the Lakes. These vessels are traditionally called boats, although classified as ships. In the mid-20th century, 300 lakers worked the...

, and railroad beds constructed of wooden ties and steel rails. The early nineteenth century Erie Canal
Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is a waterway in New York that runs about from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks and encompasses a total elevation differential of...

 and mid-twentieth century St. Lawrence Seaway expanded the scale and engineering for massive water-born freight.

The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, the Episcopal Church, and Lutheran synods became influential. In most settlements, congregations formed the social infrastructure that supported parish and common township schools, local boards and commissions, and an increasingly vital social life.

Agricultural associations gave rise to the nineteenth century Grange, which
in turn generated the agricultural cooperatives that defined much of rural political economy and culture throughout the region. Fraternal
Fraternal and service organizations
A "fraternal organization" or "fraternity" is a brotherhood, though the term usually connotes a distinct or formal organization. Please list college fraternities and sororities at List of social fraternities and sororities.-International:...

, ethnic, and civic organizations extended cooperatives and supported local ventures from insurance companies to orphanages and hospitals. The region was the political base, and provided much leadership political parties in the region.

The region's greatest institutional contributions were industrial labor organization and state educational systems. The Big Ten Conference
Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference is the United States' oldest Division I college athletic conference. Its twelve member institutions are located primarily in the Midwestern United States, stretching from Nebraska in the west to Pennsylvania in the east...

 memorializes the nation's first region in which every state sponsored major research, technical-agricultural, and teacher-training colleges and universities. The Congress of Industrial Organizations
Congress of Industrial Organizations
The Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, proposed by John L. Lewis in 1932, was a federation of unions that organized workers in industrial unions in the United States and Canada from 1935 to 1955. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 required union leaders to swear that they were not...

 grew out of the region's coal and iron mines; steel, automobile and rubber industries; and breakthrough strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

 and contracts of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the region became a major national producer of wartime materials, contributing motorized equipment from jeeps to tanks, as well as increased supplies of cereals and processed meat.

Economy

Great Lakes region
State or Province
2008 GDP
millions
of USD
%
 New York New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

1,144,481 25.2
 Illinois Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

633,697 14.0
584,460 12.9
 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

553,301 12.2
 Ohio Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

471,508 10.4
 Michigan Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

382,544 8.4
 Minnesota Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

262,847 5.8
 Indiana Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

254,861 5.6
 Wisconsin Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

240,429 5.3
 United States  Canada TOTAL 4,528,128 100.00


Navigable terrain, waterways, and ports spurred an unprecedented construction of transportation infrastructure throughout the region. The region is a global leader in advanced manufacturing and research and development, with significant innovations in both production processes and business organization. John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil
Standard Oil
Standard Oil was a predominant American integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world and operated as a major company trust and was one of the world's first and largest multinational...

 set precedents for centralized pricing, uniform distribution, and controlled product standards through Standard Oil, which started as a consolidated refinery in Cleveland. Cyrus McCormick
Cyrus McCormick
Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr. was an American inventor and founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which became part of International Harvester Company in 1902.He and many members of the McCormick family became prominent Chicagoans....

's Reaper and other manufacturers of agricultural machinery consolidated into International Harvester
International Harvester
International Harvester Company was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P...

 in Chicago. Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

's steel production integrated large-scale open-hearth and Bessemer processes into the world's most efficient and profitable mills. The largest, most comprehensive monopoly in the world, United States Steel, consolidated steel production throughout the region. Many of the world's largest employers began in the Great Lakes region.

Mass marketing in the modern sense was born in the region. Two competing Chicago retailers—Montgomery Ward
Montgomery Ward
Montgomery Ward is an online retailer that carries the same name as the former American department store chain, founded as the world's #1 mail order business in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward, and which went out of business in 2001...

 and Sears Roebuck—developed mass marketing and sales through catalogues, mail-order distribution, and the establishment of their brand names as purveyors of consumer goods. The region's natural features, cultural institutions, and resorts make it a popular destination for tourism.

Advantages of accessible waterways, highly developed transportation infrastructure, finance, and a prosperous market base make the region the global leader in automobile production and a global business location. Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

's movable assembly line and integrated production set the model and standard for major car manufactures. The Detroit area emerged as the world's automotive center, with facilities throughout the region. Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

 became the global leader in rubber production, driven by the demand for tires. Over 200 million tons of cargo are shipped annually through the Great Lakes.

According to the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

, if it stood alone as a country, the Great Lakes economy would be one of the largest economic units on earth (with a $4.5-trillion gross regional product). It contains most of an area urban planners have viewed as an emerging Great Lakes Megalopolis
Great Lakes Megalopolis
The Great Lakes Megalopolis consists of the group of North American metropolitan areas which surround the Great Lakes region mainly within the Midwestern United States, the Southern Ontario area of Canada, along with large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and Quebec...

 which has an estimated 54 million people. Furthermore, Greater Montreal, a major metropolitan area in the Canadian province of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, links to the region along the St. Lawrence Seaway
Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway , , is the common name for a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal...

.

Population centers

Rank Area
Table of United States Combined Statistical Areas
thumb|An enlargeable map of the 125 [[Combined Statistical Area]]s of the [[United States]]The United States Office of Management and Budget has defined 125 Combined Statistical Areas for the United States of America...

State/
Province
Image CSA/CMA
2009 population
Projected
2025 population
Projected increase
2009-2025
1 Chicago IL-IN-WI 9,804,845 10,935,100 1,130,255
2 Toronto
Greater Toronto Area
The Greater Toronto Area is the largest metropolitan area in Canada, with a 2006 census population of 5.5 million. The Greater Toronto Area is usually defined as the central city of Toronto, along with four regional municipalities surrounding it: Durham, Halton, Peel, and York...

ON 5,741,400 7,408,000 1,666,600
3 Detroit
Metro Detroit
The Detroit metropolitan area, often referred to as Metro Detroit, is the metropolitan area located in Southeast Michigan centered on the city of Detroit which shares an international border with Windsor, Ontario. The Detroit metropolitan area is the second largest U.S. metropolitan area...

MI
5,327,764 6,191,000 863,236
4 Montreal QC
3,859,300 4,246,931 387,631
5 Minneapolis – Saint Paul MN-WI 3,604,460 4,031,000 426,540
6 St. Louis MO-IL
2,892,874 3,049,000 156,126
7 Cleveland
Greater Cleveland
Greater Cleveland is a nickname for the metropolitan area surrounding Cleveland, Ohio and is part of what used to be the Connecticut Western Reserve.Northeast Ohio refers to a similar but substantially larger area as described below...

OH 2,891,988 3,172,000 280,012
8 Pittsburgh PA 2,445,117 2,168,818 -267,299
9 Cincinnati OH-KY-IN
2,214,954 2,448,000 233,046
10 Indianapolis IN
2,064,870 2,406,000 341,130
11 Columbus OH 2,031,229 2,446,450 415,221
12 Milwaukee
Milwaukee metropolitan area
The Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha metropolitan area is an urban area identified by the U.S. Census Bureau containing five counties in southeastern Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Washington and Ozaukee...

WI
1,760,268 1,913,000 157,732
13 Ottawa – Gatineau
National Capital Region (Canada)
The National Capital Region, also referred to as Canada's Capital Region, is an official federal designation for the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario, the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities....

ON-QC
1,451,415 1,596,556 145,141
14 Louisville
Louisville metropolitan area
The Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, commonly called the Louisville metropolitan area or Kentuckiana, is the 42nd largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States...

KY-IN 1,395,634 1,602,456 206,822
15 Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids metropolitan area
The metropolitan area surrounds the central city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is located in the outskirts of Grand Rapids,the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the DeVos Place Convention Center both in downtown Grand Rapids....

MI
1,327,366 1,530,000 202,634
16 Buffalo NY 1,203,493 1,040,400 -163,093
17 Rochester
Rochester, New York metropolitan area
The Rochester, New York Metropolitan Statistical Area , as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of five counties in Western New York, anchored by the city of Rochester...

NY 1,149,653 1,078,600 -71,053
18 Dayton OH
1,066,261 1,066,261 0
19 Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

ON
740,200 954,858 214,658
20 Toledo OH-MI 672,220 672,220 0
21 Madison
Madison metropolitan area
The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of three counties in Wisconsin, anchored by the city of Madison. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 568,593.-Definitions:...

WI 628,947 820,483 191,563
22 Lansing MI 523,609 547,325 23,716
23 Kitchener – Waterloo
Regional Municipality of Waterloo
The Regional Municipality of Waterloo is a regional municipality located in Southern Ontario, Canada. It consists of the cities of Kitchener, Cambridge, and Waterloo, and the townships of Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot, and North Dumfries. It is often referred to as the Region of Waterloo or just...

ON 492,400 635,196 142,796
24 London
London, Ontario
London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, situated along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. The city has a population of 352,395, and the metropolitan area has a population of 457,720, according to the 2006 Canadian census; the metro population in 2009 was estimated at 489,274. The city...

ON 492,200 634,938 142,738
25 Fort Wayne IN 414,315 414,315 0
26 St. Catharines – Niagara ON 404,400 521,676 117,276
27 Windsor
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

ON
330,900 426,861 95,961
Total CSA/CMA of major metro areas US-Canada
56,697,186 62,957,444 6,260,258

See also


  • Great Lakes Megalopolis
    Great Lakes Megalopolis
    The Great Lakes Megalopolis consists of the group of North American metropolitan areas which surround the Great Lakes region mainly within the Midwestern United States, the Southern Ontario area of Canada, along with large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and Quebec...

  • Great Lakes WATER Institute
    Great Lakes WATER Institute
    Great Lakes WATER Institute is a freshwater research center of the University of Wisconsin System administered by the Graduate School of University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.Located on Milwaukee's inner harbor, it is the only major aquatic research institution...

    , largest academic freshwater research facility on the Great Lakes
  • Quebec City – Windsor Corridor
  • Southern Ontario
    Southern Ontario
    Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

  • The Great Lakes region in baseball's Little League World Series
    Little League World Series
    The Little League Baseball World Series is a baseball tournament for children aged 11 to 13 years old. It was originally called the National Little League Tournament and was later renamed for the World Series in Major League Baseball. It was first held in 1947 and is held every August in South...

  • Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal
    Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal
    The Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal of North America or GCNA is a water management proposal designed by Newfoundland engineer Thomas Kierans to alleviate North American freshwater shortage problems...


Further reading

  • Chandler, Alfred D. and Hikino, Takashi (1994), Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Harvard University Press.
  • Chandler, Alfred D., (1977) The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business, Harvard University Press.
  • Cronon, William (1991). Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, W.W. Norton.
  • Foner, Eric (1970. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War, Oxford University Press
  • Onuf, Peter S (1987). A History of the Northwest Ordinance, Indiana University Press.
  • Reese, T (2001). Soft Gold: A History of the Fur Trade in the Great Lakes Region and Its Impact on Native American Culture, Heritage Press.
  • Shannon, Fred (1945). The Farmer's Last Frontier: Agriculture, 1860-1897, Farrar & Rineheart.
  • Taylor, Alan (2007), The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution, Vintage Books.
  • White, Richard (1991), The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires and Republics in The Great Lakes Region 1965-1815, Cambridge University Press

External links