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Sault Ste. Marie

(4.1/5 based on 1,900+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, zoos & aquariums, historic sites
Sault Ste. Marie is a city in, and the county seat of, Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated on the northeastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, on the Canadian border, and separated from its twin city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, by the St. Marys River. The city is relatively isolated from other communities in Michigan and is 346 miles from Detroit. The population was 14,144 at the 2010 census, making it the second most populous city in the Upper Peninsula. By contrast, the Canadian Sault Ste. Marie is much larger, with more than 75,000 residents, based on more extensive industry developed in the 20th century and an economy with closer connections to other communities.Sault Ste. Marie had been settled by Native Americans more than 500 years ago and was a crossroads of fishing and trading of tribes around the Great Lakes. It developed as the first European settlement in the region that became the Midwestern United States, when, in 1668, Father Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit, learned of the Native American village and traveled there to found a Catholic mission. French colonists later established a fur trading post, which attracted trappers and Native Americans on a seasonal basis. Both Métis men and women were active in the trade and among the elite in the community. A fur-trading settlement quickly grew at the crossroads that straddled the banks of the river. It was the center of a trading route of 3000mi that extended from Montreal to the Sault, and from the Sault to the country north of Lake Superior. The settlement was a single community under French colonial and later British colonial rule until 1817. Following the War of 1812, a US–UK Joint Boundary Commission finally fixed the border between the Michigan Territory of the USA and the British Province of Upper Canada to follow the river in this area. Whereas traders had formerly moved through the whole area, the United States forbade Canadian traders from operating in the United States, which much reduced their trade and broke up the cohesion of the economy in the area. The American and Canadian communities of Sault Ste. Marie were each incorporated as independent municipalities toward the end of the nineteenth century.
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