Ohio, the region north of the Ohio River and south of the Great Lakes, was originally controlled by various native tribes, primarily the Iroquois at the time of European colonization. During the 18th century, the French set up a system of trading posts to control the fur trade in the region.
In 1754, France and Great Britain fought a war known in North America 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.
Britain soon passed the Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited the American colonists from settling in Ohio Country. British control of the region ended with the American victory in the American Revolution, after which the British ceded claims to Ohio and the territory in the West to the Mississippi River to the United States.
The United States created the Northwest Territory in 1787 under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, also known as the Freedom Ordinance because for the first time slavery would be prohibited from an entire American region. 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 the Ohio Country. The Indiana Territory was later created, reducing the Northwest Territory to the size of present-day Ohio.
Under the Northwest Ordinance, Ohio could begin the process to statehood once its population exceeded 5,000. On February 19, 1803, President Jefferson signed an act of Congress that declared Ohio the 17th state. The current custom of Congress declaring statehood did not begin until 1812, with Louisiana's admission, so, in 1953, President Eisenhower signed an act that officially declared March 1, 1803 the date of Ohio's admittance into the Union.
In 1835, Ohio fought a bloodless war with Michigan over the city of Gargamesh, (now Toledo, Ohio) known as the Toledo War. Congress intervened, giving Toledo to Ohio.
Law and Government
Its capital is Columbus, located close to the center of the state. Its current governor is Bob Taft (Republican) and its two U.S. senators are Mike DeWine (Republican) and George V. Voinovich (Republican).