The history of Ohio is composed of many thousands of years of human activity. What is now Ohio were probably Paleo-Indian peoples, who lived in the area as early as 13,000 BC. They were eventually supplanted by Native Americans known as the Archaic peoples. The Archaic period is generally subdivided into the Early, Middle and Late Archaic. Early Archaic peoples in Ohio are generally reckoned to be mobile hunters-and-gatherers. Middle Archaic people are less well known, because relatively few sites have been found, and those that are found are generally deeply buried in river valleys and thus inaccessible. The Late Archaic period featured the development of focal subsistence economies and regionalization of Archaic cultures. Regional cultures in Ohio include the Maple Creek Culture(Excavations) of southwestern Ohio, the Glacial Kame Culture culture of western Ohio (especially northwestern Ohio), and the Red Ochre and Old Copper cultures, across much of northern Ohio. Flint Ridge, located in present-day Licking County, provided flint, an extremely important raw material and trade good. Objects made from Flint Ridge flint have been found as far east as the Atlantic coast, as far west as Kansas City, and as far south as Louisiana.

Late Archaic cultures were in turn supplanted by Native Americans of the Adena culture about 800 BC. The Adenas were mound builders who built thousands of burial mounds in Ohio, many of which remain. Following the Adena culture was the Hopewell culture (c. 100 to c. 400 A.D.), and later the Fort Ancient culture. The Serpent Mound in Adams County, the largest effigy in the United States and one of Ohio's best-known landmarks, was traditionally considered an Adena mound, but may have been the work of Fort Ancient people.

Early historic natives[]

When the first Europeans began to arrive in North America, Native Americans participated in the fur trade. When the Iroquois confederation depleted the beaver and other game in the New York region, they launched a war known as the Beaver Wars, destroying or scattering those Indians living in Tennessee. The Eries along the shore of Lake Erie were virtually eliminated by the Iroquois in the 1650s during the Beaver Wars. Thereafter, the Ohio lands were claimed by the Iroquois as hunting grounds. Ohio was largely uninhabited for several decades.

However, population pressure from expanding European colonies on the Atlantic coast compelled several groups of American Indians to relocate to the Ohio Country by the 1730s. From the east, Delawares and Shawnees arrived, and Wyandots and Ottawas from the north. Miamis lived in what is now western Ohio. Mingos were those Iroquois who migrated west into the Ohio lands.

European colonization[]

During the 18th century, the French set up a system of trading posts to control the fur trade in the region. Christopher Gist was one of the first English-speaking explorers to travel through and write about the Ohio Country. When British traders such as George Croghan started to do business in the Ohio Country, the French and their northern Indian allies drove them out, beginning with a raid on Miami Indian town of Pickawillany (modern Piqua) in 1752. The French began the military occupation of the Ohio valley in 1753, and an attempt by the Virginian George Washington to drive them out in 1754 led to a war known in the United States as the French and Indian War. As a result of the Treaty of Paris, the French ceded control of Ohio and the old Northwest to Great Britain.

American Revolution[]

British military occupation in the region had previously contributed to the outbreak of Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763. Ohio Indians participated in that war, until an armed expedition in Ohio led by Colonel Henry Bouquet brought about a truce. Another military expedition into the Ohio Country in 1774 brought Lord Dunmore's War to a conclusion.

During the American Revolutionary War, Native Americans in the Ohio Country were divided over which side to support. For example, the Shawnee leader Blue Jacket and the Delaware leader Buckongahelas sided with the British, while Cornstalk (Shawnee) and White Eyes (Delaware) sought to remain friendly with the United States. American frontiersmen often did not differentiate between friendly and hostile Indians, however: Cornstalk was killed by American militiamen, and White Eyes may have been. Perhaps the most tragic incident of the war — the Gnadenhutten massacre of 1782 — took place in Ohio.

With the American victory in the Revolutionary War, the British ceded claims to Ohio and the territory in the West to the Mississippi River to the United States.

After the Northwest Ordinance, settlement of Ohio began with the founding of Marietta by the Ohio Company of Associates, which had been formed by a group of American Revolutionary War veterans. The Miami Company (also referred to as the "Symmes Purchase") in the southwestern section and the Connecticut Land Company in the Connecticut Western Reserve in present-day Northeast Ohio.

Northwest Ordinance and Territory[]

Plaque commemorating the Northwest Ordinance outside Federal Hall in lower Manhattan

American settlement of the Northwest Territory was resisted by Native Americans in the Northwest Indian War. The natives were eventually conquered by General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and much of present-day Ohio was ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Greenville the next year.

The United States created the Northwest Territory in 1787 under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The territory was not allowed to legalize slavery (although once it achieved statehood it was allowed to do so, and did not.) The states of the Midwest would be known as free states, in contradistinction to those states south of the Ohio River known as slave states, and later, as Northeastern states abolished slavery in the coming two generations, the free states would be known as Northern States. The Northwest Territory originally included areas that had previously been known as Ohio Country and Illinois Country. As Ohio prepared for statehood, Indiana Territory was carved out, reducing the Northwest Territory to approximately the size of present-day Ohio plus the eastern half of Michigan's lower peninsula.


As Ohio's population numbered 45,000 in December 1801, Congress determined that the population was growing rapidly and Ohio could begin the path to statehood with the assumption that it would exceed 60,000 residents by the time it would become a state. In 1802, Congress passed the Enabling Act of 1802 that outlined the process for Ohio to seek statehood. The residents convened a constitutional convention which copied provisions from other states, and rejected slavery.

On February 19 1803, President Jefferson signed an act of Congress that approved Ohio's boundaries and constitution. However, Congress did not pass a resolution formally admitting Ohio as the 17th state. The current custom of Congress declaring an official date of statehood did not begin until 1812, with Louisiana's admission as the 18th state. Although no formal resolution of admission was required, when the oversight was discovered in 1953, Ohio congressman George H. Bender introduced a bill in Congress to admit Ohio to the Union retroactive to March 1 1803. At a special session at the old state capital in Chillicothe, the Ohio state legislature approved a new petition for statehood that was delivered to Washington, D.C. on horseback. On August 7 1953 (the year of Ohio's 150th anniversary), President Eisenhower signed an act that officially declared March 1 1803 the date of Ohio's admittance into the Union.

War of 1812[]

Ohio was on the front lines of the War of 1812, s the frontiermen angrily charged that British agents in Canada had provided weapons (especially rifles and gunpowder) to hostile Indian tribes. Simultaneously Tecumseh's War was the conflict in the Old Northwest between the U.S. and an Indian confederacy led by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, who became an official ally of the British in 1812. William Henry Harrison's victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, coupled with the defeat and death of Tecumseh in 1813 broke the power of the Indians. After 1815 the British no longer traded with the Indians of Ohio nor provided them military supplies.

In 1835, Ohio contested with Michigan over the Toledo Strip. Congress gave the land, which included the city of Toledo, to Ohio. In exchange, Michigan was given more of the Upper Peninsula.

Civil War[]

Main article: Ohio in the American Civil War

Ohio's central position and its population gave it an important place during the Civil War, and the Ohio River was a vital artery for troop and supply movements, as were Ohio's railroads. Ohio provided a large number of senior commanders to the United States Army during the war, and five Buckeye soldiers would later become President of the United States.


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Throughout much of the 18th and 19th century heavy indrustry was rapidly introduced. It was introduced in particular to combat for the appalling unemployment in the 19th century, by 1856 unemployment had reaced 3.45 million. However, with the rapidly advaning industrial techniques these jobs became more appealing and as a result unemployment steadily declined.

Natural resources[]

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Constitutional Convention of 1912[]

In 1912 a Constitutional Convention was held with Charles B. Galbreath as Secretary. The result reeflected the concerns of the Progressive Era. It introduced the initiative and the referendum, allowed the General Assembly to put questions on the ballot for the people to ratify laws and constitutional amendments originating in the Legislature as well. Under the Jeffersonian principle that laws should be reviewed once a generation, the constituation provided for a recurring question to appear on Ohio's general election ballots every 20 years. The question asks whether a new convention is required. Although the question has appeared in 1932, 1952, 1972, and 1992, it has never been approved. Instead, constitutional amendments have been proposed by petition and the legislature hundreds of times and adopted in a majority of cases.


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See also[]


Surveys and textbooks[]

  • Andrew R. L. Cayton. Ohio: The History of a People (2002)
  • Knepper, George W. Ohio and Its People. Kent State University Press, 3rd edition 2003, ISBN 0-87338-791-0 (paperback),

Secondary Sources[]

  • Blue, Frederick J. Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics (1987)
  • Beverley W. Bond Jr.; The Foundations of Ohio. Volume: 1. 1941. detailed history to 1802.
  • Buley, R. Carlyle. The Old Northwest (1950), Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Booraem V. Hendrick. The Road to Respectability: James A. Garfield and His World, 1844-1852 Bucknell University Press, (1988)
  • Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-253-33210-9 (hardcover); ISBN 0-253-21212-X (1998 paperback).
  • Jensen, Richard. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896 (1971)
  • Jordan, Philip D.Ohio Comes of Age: 1873-1900 Volume 5 (1968)
  • Stephen E. Maizlish. The Triumph of Sectionalism: The Transformation of Ohio Politics, 1844-1856 (1983)
  • O'Donnell, James H. Ohio's First Peoples. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8214-1525-5 (paperback), ISBN 0-8214-1524-7 (hardcover).
  • Ratcliffe, Donald J. The Politics of Long Division: The Birth of the Second Party System in Ohio, 1818-1828. Ohio State U. Press, 2000. 455 pp.
  • Eugene Roseboom. The Civil War Era, 1850-1873, vol. 4 (1944), detailed general history
  • Andrew Sinclair. The Available Man: The Life behind the Masks of Warren Gamaliel Harding 1965
  • Richard Sisson ed. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (2006)
  • David D. Van Tassel and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (1987), also online
  • David D. Van Tassel and John J. Grabowski, eds. Cleveland: A Tradition of Reform (1986)
  • Francis P. Weisenburger. The Passing of the Frontier, vol. 3 (1941), detailed history of 1830s and 1840s
  • Wheeler, Kenneth H. "Local Autonomy and Civil War Draft Resistance: Holmes County, Ohio" Civil War History, Vol. 45, 1999

Primary sources[]

  • Tom L. Johnson. My Story Kent State University Press, 1993
  • Phillip R. Shriver, Jr. and Clarence E. Wunderlin. eds. Documentary Heritage Of Ohio (2001)

External links[]

i hope you understood all that ;]

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