Detroit is the largest city in the State of Michigan and the seat of Wayne County. Between 1805 and 1847 it was also the capital of Michigan. As of 2005 it houses a population of 886,675, making it the 11th most populous city in the United States. However for many outside the region "Detroit" is used to refer to the entire Metro Detroit area, with a population of 4,488,335.
Detroit was founded by the French in 1701 as a fur trading post. To this day it continues this tradition by being home to the busiest international border crossing in the world, the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit with Windor, Ontario, Canada. The bridge carries 25% of all trade between the United States and Canada. In addition to the bridge Detroit has two other border crossings: the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Central Railway Tunnel. In total 35% of all trade between the US and Canada passes through Detroit.
Detroit is probably most famous for its role in the development of the automotive industry. It was the home to Henry Ford's first autombile plant in 1904, and it is the home to the headquarters of all three of the Big Three automakers. It is this that has earned Detroit the nicknames "The Motor City" and "Motown".
To the right you can see the GM World Headquarters, located in the Renaissance Center (known as the "RenCen" to residents.) GM purchased the RenCen in 1996 and renovated it at a cost of $500 million. Renovations were completed in 2003.
Detroit's close ties to the automotive industy are both a blessing and a curse. The strong dependence of the local economy on automotive jobs means Detroit has been hit harder than most as foreign auto makers continue to put pressure on domestic manufacturers. As of February 2006 the Metro Detroit area's unemployment rate was 8.6%, second only to areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. Inside the city unemployment rates have hit as high as 15%, making Detroit the second poorest city in the country. One third of Detroit's population currently lives below the poverty line.
Sports are a popular pastime in Detroit. The city is home to teams in all four major professional sports in the United States: the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Shock in basketball, the Detroit Lions in football, the Detroit Tigers in baseball and the Detroit Red Wings in hockey. Detroit's avid hockey fans have earned it the nickname "Hockey Town".
Detroit is the home to three major sporting venues: Ford Field (home to the Lions), Comerica Park (home to the Tigers) and Joe Louis Arena (home to the Red Wings). The Pistons and the Shock currently play at The Palace of Auburn Hills, located approximately 20 minutes north of the city in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Detroit has also been home to famous musicians from many genres including blues, jazz and rock. Famous rock talents such as Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and Bob Seger hail from Detroit, and the city is the subject of famous songs such as KISS's "Detroit Rock City". More recently Detroit has become the generally accepted birthplace of techno music, and currently the city sports a growing indie rock scene.