The first Europeans to reach this area, which sits at the junction of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, were the French in the late 1500’s. They traded goods with the Indians for furs and pelts. In 1715 they built Fort Makinac, not for military purposes, but as a trading post. This drew many French settlers to the great lakes area. As a result of the English winning the French and Indian War, Britain received all the French possessions around the Great Lakes.
It was still used as a trading post for the exchange of furs and goods to be shipped back to England.
When the English rebels, in the lower part of the continent, began capturing English forts in the North, the commander of Fort Mackinac decided he would not be able to defend the fort against the rebel gunboats and dismantled the fort moving it across the Straight of Mackinac to Mackinac Island. (Is that a run on sentence?) He then burned the remains of the fort so it would not fall into the hands of the enemy.