Lake Superior, in the United States, is considered the largest fresh-water lake in the world, when considering total surface area (31,700 square miles) . It is not only the largest lake in North America, but its water volume exceeds the total of all the other Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan & Erie) combined.
The name Lake Superior was Anglicized by the British from the French designation “le lac superieur” meaning “the highest lake.” French explorers gave it that appellation since it extended geographically North of the others.
The true name of this massive glacial inland sea is, in Ojibwa Gichigami, or to the Anishaabe, Gichiami, depending on which group of the Ojibwa/Algonquin people you consult. I first heard this as a wee lad when my mother would read to me of a hero who live with his grandmother, Nokomis.
Illustration by Felix Octavius Carr “F. O. C.” Darley (June 23, 1822 – March 27, 1888)
From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha
By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.
All the air was full of freshness,
All the earth was bright and joyous,
And before him, through the sunshine,
Westward toward the neighboring forest
Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
Burning, singing in the sunshine.