Great Lakes

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The Great Lakes are a group of five large lakes on or near the United States-Canadian border.

The Great Lakes are:

All freshwater lakes, four of these lakes straddle the US-Canada border, with the exception of Lake Michigan, which is entirely within the United States. The Saint Lawrence River which straddles the same international border for portions of its course, is a primary outlet of these interconnected lakes, leading past the Gaspe Peninsula to the northern Atlantic Ocean.

  • Geologic Pre-History
The Great Lakes were formed at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago when the Laurentinian Ice Shelf receded, leaving behind a rush of meltwater.

What else?

  • Pre-European History of the Lakes
  • European History of the Lakes
  • Modern Economy of the Lakes
  • Great Lakes Ecology

For a brief period beginning in March, 1998, Lake Champlain was also officially recognized as a Great Lake. This anomaly, the result of a Senate-bill line-item, generated a small uproar, and was rectified shortly thereafter.


This term can also be used to identify of a number of lakes throughout the world, and the region around them, in East Africa. More specifically, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Nyasa Lake, Lake Albert and a number of smaller lakes.