Detroit is a city of about a million people in southeastern Michigan. Founded in 1701 by the French explorer Antoine de la Moche-Cadillac, it became an important trading post. It was captured by the British in 1760 and was transferred to the new United States after the American Revolution. It was briefly held by the British during the War of 1812.

Most of Detroit's early growth came from its role as an important port on the Great Lakes. Detroit industry began to develop after the Civil War, but the emerging auto industry revolutionized the city. Ford Motor Company and General Motors, two of the largest corporations in the world, turned Detroit into the Motor City, the center of world automobile production. World War II further boosted Detroit, which became a center for the production of the tanks and planes with which the US fought the war. All the heavy industry lured many African-Americans from the South to work in the massive factories that pumped out cars. The influence of blacks in Detroit was most visible in the creation of Motown, a black-owned record studio that single-handedly created a genre of music. Motown artists such as Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder altered popular music. Detroit had serious problems with race relations in the 1960s, which exploded in a major riot in 1967. White Detroiters fled to the suburbs in large numbers, and did not return. Even Motown Records moved to Los Angeles, symbolizing the city's cultural decline. The election of the outspoken Coleman Young as the city's first black mayor in 1973 was good for the city in many ways, but also increased the gap between the city and its suburbs. The Detroit area is still among the most segregated in the US, and it has continued to decline in population. Attempts to revive the city through developments such as the Renaissance Center, Detroit Science Center, and Joe Louis Arena failed largely because the white suburbanites refused to come to downtown Detroit for any reason. After Young's retirement in 1993, Dennis Archer, the new mayor, attempted to make new connections between the city and the suburbs. His efforts, the strong economy, and a new attitude toward cities in the US have combined to bring some revival to Detroit. Detroit has also become known worldwide as a center of electronic music--although the most famous techno musicians are actually from the suburb of Belleville. Still, there are numerous signs that Detroit is making a recovery from its low point in the late 80s.