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The Huron people from Lake Superior, in fear of the Sioux, retreated to the shore north of Mackinac Island.Here Marquette continued his missionary labors with them, at the site of the present St. The 1688 memoir of Jacques-René de Brisay de Denonville, Marquis de Denonville, claimed that the French had inhabited the area since 1648.

One winter the Mi-shi-ne-macki naw-go on Mackinac Island were almost entirely annihilated by the Seneca people from New York, who were part of the Iroquois Confederacy.The first European likely to have seen Mackinac Island is Jean Nicolet, a French-Canadian coureur des bois, during his 1634 explorations.The Jesuit priest Claude Dablon founded a mission for the Native Americans on Mackinac Island in 1670, and stayed over the winter of 1670–71.Native Americans in the Straits of Mackinac region likened the shape of the island to that of a turtle so they named it "Mitchimakinak" (Ojibwe: Michillimackinac is also spelled as Mishinimakinago, Mǐshǐma‛kǐnung, Mi-shi-ne-macki naw-go, Missilimakinak, Teiodondoraghie.The Menominee traditionally lived in a large territory of 10 million acres extending from Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.However, much of the British forces did not leave the Great Lakes area until after 1794, when the Jay Treaty established U. The victorious British attempted to protect their prize by building Fort George on the high ground behind Fort Mackinac.

In 1814, the Americans and British fought a second battle on the north side of the island.

On this account, the Jesuits have begun a new mission, opposite Mackinac, called St. Thither have fled the Hurons, driven from Chequamegon Bay by fear of the Sioux, “the Iroquois of the West." The Relations also indicate the tremendous strategic importance of Michilimackinac/Mackinac Island as "the central point for all travel on the upper Great Lakes, and for a vast extent of wilderness and half-settled country beyond" to First Nations and Europeans (prior to the arrival of railroads).

The tribes who had inhabited Mackinac Island had been driven away by the Iroquois, leaving the island practically deserted until 1670.

It served a strategic position as a center on the commerce of the Great Lakes fur trade.

This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War.

Only two of the local natives escaped by hiding in one of the natural caves at the island. published his history, entitled Mackinac formerly Michilimackinac, describing some of the first recorded presence on Mackinac of French traders.