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Lake Huron
Since its French discoverers knew nothing as yet of the other lakes, they called it La Mer Douce, the sweet or fresh-water sea. A Sanson map in 1656 refers to the lake as Karegnondi.

Lake Huron was generally labeled "Lac des Hurons" (Lake of the Huron Indians) on most early maps.

Erie
The greater part of its southern shore was at one time occupied by the Eries, a tribe of Indians from which the lake derived its name. This name is always mentioned by the early French writers as meaning "cat"; Lac du Chat means "Lake of the Cat." Many attribute this reference to the wild cat or panther; the Eries' name for themselves was "The People of the Panther."

What's in a name?
Lake Michigan
Champlain called it the Grand Lac. It was later named "Lake of the Stinking Water" or "Lake of the Puants," after the people who occupied its shores. In 1679, the lake became known as Lac des Illinois because it gave access to the country of the Indians, so named. Three years before, Allouez called it Lac St. Joseph, by which name it was often designated by early writers. Others called it Lac Dauphin. Through the further explorations of Jolliet and Marquette, the "Lake of the Stinking Water" received its final name of Michigan.

Another story recounts that Nicolet, the first European to set foot in Wisconsin in 1634, landed on the shores of Green Bay and was greeted by Winnebago Indians, whom the French called "Puans." Lake Michigan was labeled as "Lake of Puans" on an early and incomplete 1670 map of the region that showed only the northern shores of the lake. However, only Green Bay is labeled as "Baye de Puans" (Bay of the Winnebago Indians) on maps from 1688 and 1708. On the 1688 map, Lake Michigan is called Lac des Illinois.

An Indian name for Lake Michigan was "Michi gami."

What's in a name?
Lake Ontario
Champlain first called it Lake St. Louis in 1632. On a Sanson map in 1656, it remained Lac de St. Louis. In 1660, Creuxius gave it the name Lacus Ontarius. Ontara in Iroquois means "lake," and Ontario, "beautiful lake."

What's in a name?
Lake Superior
The first French explorers approaching the great inland sea by way of the Ottawa River and Lake Huron referred to their discovery as le lac superieur. Properly translated, the expression means "Upper Lake," that is, the lake above Lake Huron. Kitchi-gummi, a Chippewa Indian translation, signifies Great-water or Great-lake. A Jesuit name, Lac Tracy, was never officially adopted.

An Indian name for Lake Superior was "Kitchi gami" (or "Kitchi-gummi").

h2o<---says interesting.
 
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