In 1670 a Jesuit priest, Fr. Claude Dablon, wintered here. The British in 1781 made it a center of their military and fur trade activity. The island was occupied by the Americans in 1796. Held by the British during the War of 1812, it became the hub of Astor's fur empire after 1817. Mackinac was already becoming a popular resort when fur trading declined in the 1830's.