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Detroit is a major port on the Detroit River, one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
The Detroit Metropolitan Airport is among the most important hubs in the United States. automobile industry, and the "Big Three" auto manufacturers General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are all headquartered in Metro Detroit.
The erstwhile rapid growth of Detroit left a globally unique stock of architectural monuments and historic places of the first half of the 20th century, and since the 2000s conservation efforts managed to save many architectural pieces and allowed several large-scale revitalisations, including the restoration of several historic theatres and entertainment venues, highrise renovations, new sports stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project.
More recently, the population of Downtown Detroit, Midtown Detroit, and various other neighborhoods has increased. The first Europeans did not penetrate into the region and reach the straits of Detroit until French missionaries and traders worked their way around the League of the Iroquois, with whom they were at war, and other Iroquoian tribes in the 1630s.
However, due to industrial restructuring, the loss of jobs in the auto industry, and rapid suburbanization, Detroit lost considerable population from the late 20th century to the present.During the late 19th century, several Gilded Age mansions reflecting the wealth of industry and shipping magnates were built east and west of the current downtown, along the major avenues of the Woodward plan.Most notable among them was the David Whitney House located at 4421 Woodward Avenue, which became a prime location for mansions.France offered free land to colonists to attract families to Detroit; when it reached a total population of 800 in 1765, it was the largest European settlement between Montreal and New Orleans, both also French settlements.The region's economy was based on the lucrative fur trade, in which numerous Native American people had important roles.