Facts About Lake Erie

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Lake Erie is one of the lakes in the largest fresh water body in the world. The Great Lakes St Lawrence hydro system is one of the greatest natural features in the world. It is a system of four large fresh water lakes that drain into the River St Lawrence, which then empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The system forms a natural boundary between USA and Canada. This border is respected by both sides and maintained without any Armed Forces patrolling the water way.

FACT 1: All the lakes in the system are large. Lake Erie has a surface area of 9,910 square miles, making it the 11th largest lake in the world.

FACT 2: By volume Lake Erie is 116 cubic miles, ranking it 15th in the world but the smallest of the five Great Lakes. It is also the shallowest with a maximum depth of 210 feet.

FACT 3The Lake was named for a tribe of Native Americans that lived along the Southern shores of the lake. The first European to visit was possibly Etienne Brule in 1615. However the discovery is generally credited to the French Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet in 1669.

FACT 4: In 1812, the Battle of Lake Erie was fought on its waters. Nine American warships under Commander Perry engaged in battle with 6 British war ships. The British were routed and this battle gave the Americans supremacy and led to the retreat of the British from the North West.

FACT 5: Lake Erie is an important link in the supply of raw materials for Americas industries. The ports of Cleveland, Conneaut and Ashtabula receive shipments of iron ore and limestone to feed the steel industry in Pittsburgh and Detroit. Shipments of soft coal are handled at the port of Toledo and the port of Buffalo handles grain.

FACT 6: Being an important link for industry, Lake Erie became dangerously polluted. Awareness of the hazards, led to steps being taken and by the 1970’s the damage was arrested.

FACT 7: The great Lakes were probably formed with the recession of the Ice Age 14,000 years ago. Lake Erie filled up 10,000 years ago.

FACT 8: The Lake is bordered by Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. The waters flow out along the Niagara River before plunging down the Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario.

FACT 9: Many migratory birds visit the Point Pelee National Park. Different species of duck winter here such as the scaup and the old squaw duck. It is an important bird watching site. Herring and ring billed gulls and terns nest in the islands of the lake. Monarch butterflies can be seen in the autumn. Many songbirds also visit in the spring.

Fact 10: Lake Erie is named for a tribe of Native Americans who lived along the Southern shores of the Lake. They were an elusive tribe and no European ever met one of them. Accounts of their lifestyle and exploits come from the Native American tribe the Huron, also the name of one of the Great Lakes. The tribe name Erie is a short form of the name Erielhonan meaning ‘long tail’. This name refers to the mountain lions that once lived in these regions. The Erie were also called the Cat Nation. In 1600 they numbered about 14000.Theywere wiped out after a bloody war in 1656, by the Iroquois League Indians.

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