In 1634 Samuel de Champlain sent Jean Nicolet from Quebec to explore this area and make peace with the Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians. French traders were in the area in 1673, but they left when conflict with the Indians ensued. The French returned in 1715 and established Fort Michilimackinac
, which they occupied until the English took over in 1761. The English abandoned the fort in 1781, during the American Revolution, and re-established it at Mackinac Island
. In 1857 Edgar Conkling and Asbury Searles platted the present village of Mackinaw City. The village developed commercially with the arrival in 1881 of the Michigan Central Railroad, which terminated here. The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad arrived here in 1882. Mackinaw City was officially incorporated as a village in December 1883.