The State of Ohio is central to the Midwestern states of the Great Lakes with its capital as Columbus. The state is bordered by the Ohio River in the south and the state of Kentucky, Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the East, Indiana to the West, West Virginia to the Southeast, and Michigan to the Northwest. The border with Michigan was changed due to the Toledo War to angle slightly northeast to the north shore of the Maumee River’s mouth. It is the 34th largest state in the United States as per land area, the tenth most densely populated, and the seventh most populated. The state was named after the river of the same name, which came from the Seneca tribe’s word “ohi:yo'” meaning “great river” or “good river”. It has the nickname of being the “Buckeye state” and its residents “buckeyes” after the numerous buckeye trees in the state. The state was admitted to the Union on March 1, 1803.
Geologically, Ohio features glaciated till plains minus the Great Black Swamp that is a extremely flat area in the Northwest. The glaciation from the east an southeast was the Allegheny Plateau, then another belt known as the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau causing rugged hills and forests. The rest of Ohio is low relief. The ruggest southeast stretches as a bow-like arc towards the Ohio river from the West Virginia Panhandle. There are several major rivers running through Ohio such as the Cuyahoga River, Great Miami River, Maumee River, Scioto River, and Muskingum River most of which drain into the northern Atlantic Ocean through Lake Erie and St. Lawrence River. Rivers in the southern part of the state drain into the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Ohio has a humid continental climate through most of the region except the extreme southern counties of the Bluegrass region that are defined as humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid throughout the state with winters ranging from cool to cold. Precipitation is moderate year-round though bouts of severe weather are not uncommon such as tornados, snowstorms, rain storms, and sleet. There have been earthquakes as well through the state.
The first inhabitants of the region were nomadic Native American tribes and peoples dating to as early as 13,000 B.C.E. The early nomads disappeared from historical record by 1,000 B.C.E. From 1,000 B.C.E. to 800 B.C.E. the Adena culture dominated with semi-permanent villages with domestication of plants including sunflowers, squash, and potentially corn. The remainder was hunting and gathering moin into more settled and complex villages. The Great Serpent Mound in Adams County is one of the most superior remnants of the culture.
The Hopewell evolved from the Adena who also conducted mound-building activities creating complex, large sophisticated earthworks throughout the region. Trade became a major industry creating a large network amongst the early peoples of the region. The Hopewell vanished around 600 C.E. potentially from the rise of the Mississippian Culture Siouan-speaking people from the Plains and East Coast claim to be their ancestors living here until the 13th century C.E. It is believed that Ohio has three distinct prehistoric cultures: (1) the Fort Ancient People, (2) the Whittlesey Focus People, and (3) the Monongahela Culture. All three of these cultures disappeared by the 17th century with European contact and the diseases the Europeans brought with them.
The early inhabitants saw aggression and warfare with the Iroquois Confederation out of the area now defined as New York. The Beaver Wars of the mid-17th century saw the Iroquios claiing much of the area of Ohio for hunting and beaver-trapping. Epidemics from European contact also devastated the native populations by late 17th century. Towards the 18th century, the Algonquian peoples inhabited the region subsisting on agriculture and seasonal hunting. They became part of the larger global economy through the fur trade with Europeans and settlers.
With European contact and settlement, trade increased and Tobacco plantations were established. The Iroquoian Petun, Erie, Chonnonton, Wyandot, Mingo Seneca, and Iroquois Confederacy were the indigenous nations remaining from the 18th century onwards. Numerous massacres of the indigenous took place such as the Yellow Creek Massacre, Gnadenhutten, and Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre until the remaining Native populations were pushed out especially with the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
The French settled and colonized the area with a system of trading posts regulating the fur trade. France and Great Britain fought over the region in the French and Indian War as well as in Europe during the Seven Year’s War. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 had the French cede control and the remainder of the Old Northwest to Great Britain. Come the American Revolution much of that changed. Control of the region went to the United States.
Ohio’s industry is based on coal mines, cargo transport, Lake Erie’s coastline (approx. 312 miles) for cargo ports, and manufacturing plants. Early industry collapses and economic despair brought great poverty to the area in the Appalachian Region – propelling the 1965 Congress Appalachian Regional Development Act addressing the concerns including over 29 counties as part of Appalachia. Ohio was devastated by the 1913 Great Dayton Flood when the Miami River watershed flooded destroying much of Dayton.
- Center of the World
- Cuyahoga Falls
- Newton Falls