Detroit, Michigan city on the Detroit River, with 1 million inhabitants. (urban area: approx. 4.7 million inhabitants). The city is one of the seven largest in the United States.
Detroit has historically been of particular importance as a center of trade; the port is Michigan’s busiest. In addition, the city is the largest center of automotive production in the world; branches of, among others, General Motors Company, Chrysler Corporation and Ford Motor Company and numerous supply companies. In addition, important chemical and pharmaceutical industry, petroleum refining, mechanical engineering and manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment. Furthermore, important service activities, including in the fields of finance, advertising, public relations and design.
The city is home to the University of Detroit (1911), Wayne State University (1933) and several industrial and technological research institutes and institutions. There is a science museum, a planetarium, several theaters, Detroit Public Library (1865; one of the largest in the country) and a zoo with aquarium. The city is home to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Motown Museum sheds light on the history of the record company of the same name, which released a number of hits by black musicians, especially in the 1960s and 1970s.
After a major fire in 1805, the city was largely rebuilt according to plans by the architect P.-C. l’Enfant. In the 1970s, large parts of the city were remediated, so that a special mixture of high-rise and 19th-century buildings has arisen around the city. Examples of modern architecture include the Renaissance Center (1977; 225 m high) on Detroit River, the Civic Center (1978) and the Cultural Center, which houses the Detroit Institute of Arts. Fort Wayne (1851) is now a military museum. Cobo Hall and Arena is one of the largest convention and exhibition halls in the United States. There are several parks, especially Belle Isle.
The city is connected to Windsor (Canada) across the river by ferry services, two tunnels and bridges, including Ambassador Bridge (1929).
The city originated around the Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, founded by the Frenchman A. de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701. The fort was captured by the English in 1760, and with the colonization of Michigan and the rise of shipping and rail traffic, the city quickly developed into an important center of trade and industry (19th century; shipbuilding).
Around 1900 Henry Ford began building automobiles (in Dearborn, now incorporated into the Detroit metropolitan area), later followed by other manufacturers.
The population grew rapidly due to immigration of factory workers, including many blacks, which led to social unrest and racial conflict in the first half of the 20th century (1943, 1967). In the 1970s the automotive industry went through a serious crisis (competition to Japanese manufacturers; economic recession), resulting in high unemployment among black young people in particular.
Detroit was the capital of the territory (since 1837 state) Michigan in the period 1805-1847.