Muskegon () is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, and is the largest populated city on the western shores of Michigan. At the 2010 census the city population was 38,401. The city is the county seat of Muskegon County. It is at the southwest corner of Muskegon Township, but is administratively autonomous.
The Muskegon Metro area had a population of 173,566 in 2019. It is also part of the larger Grand Rapids-Kentwood-Muskegon-Combined Statistical Area with a population of 1,433,288.
Human occupation of the Muskegon area goes back seven or eight thousand years to the nomadic Paleo-Indian hunters who occupied the area following the retreat of the Wisconsonian glaciations. The Paleo-Indians were superseded by several stages of Woodland Indian developments, the most notable of whom were the Hopewellian type-tradition, which occupied this area, perhaps two thousand years ago.
During historic times, the Muskegon area was inhabited by various bands of the Odawa (Ottawa) and Pottawatomi Indian tribes, but by 1830 Muskegon was solely an Ottawa village. Perhaps the best remembered of the area's Indian inhabitants was the Ottawa Indian Chief, Pendalouan. A leading participant in the French-inspired annihilation of the Fox Indians of Illinois in the 1730s, Pendalouan and his people lived in the Muskegon vicinity during the 1730s and 1740s until the French induced them to move their settlement to the Traverse Bay area in 1742.
The name "Muskegon" is derived from the Ottawa tribe term "Masquigon," meaning "marshy river or swamp".
The "Masquigon" River (Muskegon River) was identified on French maps dating from the late seventeenth century, suggesting French explorers had reached Michigan's western coast by that time.