Ohio: The Buckeye State
Ohio is bordered to the south by the river for which it is named. To the north lies Lake Erie. Ohio is mostly flat, with some rolling hills in the southeastern part of the state. Before European settlement, Ohio was a big, unbroken hardwood forest. Most of that huge forest is gone now, replaced by some of the richest farmland in the country. Wheat is grown in Ohio, nearly as much as is grown in the plains states!
In the Ohio River Valley, you can find a number of large earthen mounds. These were left by a group of Native Americans that archaeologists call the Hopewell civilization. Other people refer to these people as the Mound Builders. This civilization, which disappeared hundreds of years before European exploration of the region, built mounds that measure as high as sixty-five feet off the ground, and in some places they cover acres of ground! Some of these mounds are circular; others are in the shape of animals such as snakes. You can find many of these interesting mounds in the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.
ALL ABOUT Ohio
LARGEST CITY: Columbus
POPULATION: 11,353,140 (2000 Census)
STATE BIRD: Cardinal
STATE TREE: Buckeye
STATE FLOWER: Scarlet Carnation
STATE MOTTO: “With God, All Things Are Possible”
STATEHOOD: March 1, 1803
POSTAL ABBREVIATION: OH
After the end of the Hopewell civilization, other tribes entered the Ohio country and prospered there. Tribes such as the Miami, the Shawnee, and the Erie settled in the region. During the seventeenth century, the Erie fought a long war with the Seneca, a member tribe of the Iroquois confederacy, which lived in western New York. The two tribes fought over control of the fur trade in the Ohio region. The Erie lost, and were absorbed by the Seneca, who took over the Erie hunting grounds as their own.
During the eighteenth century, most of the tribes in the Ohio country sided with the French in a series of wars with the English. Because the French had claimed all of the lands drained by the waters that flowed out of the mouth of the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico, they had a claim to the Ohio country as well, because the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi.
When the French lost their lands in North America as part of the treaty that ended the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), many of the Native Americans in the Ohio Valley joined in what later became known as Pontiac's Rebellion. This wave of violence led to the eventual removal of all Native American tribes to west of the Mississippi River.
After the American Revolution, the British ceded Ohio to the United States as part of the Old Northwest Territory. Ohio became its own territory in 1799, and a state in 1803.
Shortly after Ohio became a state, it became a battleground of the War of 1812, which the young United States fought with Great Britain. One of the most important battles of this war was an American naval victory over the British on Lake Erie, within sight of the Ohio shore.
WORDS TO KNOW
When geographers use this term they are usually using it as a verb, to explain which rivers and streams “drain” a region. In other words, saying that a river “drains” a region means that the water that flows out of the area goes by way of this river (and its tributary streams) to the ocean.
Industry in Ohio
Ohio has changed a lot in the 200 years since it became a state. Because it had a lot of natural resources like oil, coal, and natural gas, Ohio was a natural choice for people who were looking for places to build factories to produce goods like cloth. Later, as the Industrial Revolution helped make it easier to produce high-grade steel products, Ohio's coal deposits were one reason that the state became a center of steel production in the United States.
The other reason Ohio became so important in industry was its water access to other markets. In the southern part of the state, the mighty Ohio River fed into the Mississippi, and out of the Gulf of Mexico and to foreign markets. In the north there was Lake Erie, which fed eventually into the St. Lawrence River, and again, out to sea, and to foreign markets in places such as England, which was a large market for American steel during the nineteenth century.
As a result of this, Ohio became a very important state in the Union, before, during, and after the Civil War. Many of America's military and political leaders came from Ohio during this century, including Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, and a number of U.S. presidents.
OHIO: THE MOTHER OF PRESIDENTS!
Ohio has supplied more presidents to our country than any other state, eight presidents in all! Aside from William Henry Harrison (who was born in Virginia, and moved to Ohio when it was still a territory), all of these presidents were born and raised in Ohio:Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.
There are many great explorers among those Ohioans who have gone on to national and international fame. These include John Wesley Powell, who explored the Grand Canyon in the late nineteenth century, and Annie Oakley, the great American sharpshooter.
Then, of course, there are the Wright Brothers, who invented the airplane in 1903. They owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, even though they are remembered for their flights at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. Because of the contributions of the Wright Brothers, we have the later accomplishments of John Glenn, one of America's first astronauts (and later a U.S. senator from Ohio), and Neil Armstrong, another American astronaut and the first man to walk on the moon (in 1969). Other great Ohioans include Daniel C. Beard, who founded the Boy Scouts of America, and A.B. Graham, who founded the 4-H club movement.
Get in Shape
pien Ohio's flag is unique among the 50 states. Why?
Connect the dots, and break the “Vowel Switch” Code to find out!