Ohio — History and Culture
Both geographically and socially, Ohio has always been at the heart of America’s development. Though the state is mainly rural, it is a central pipeline of transport, industry, and trade. Important Americans seem to grow in Ohio like corn, and the general population is very proud of its native sons as well as its beautiful scenery. The people here are as friendly as anywhere in the Midwest, which is really saying something. Visitors can expect a warm welcome and lots of unique cultural heritage on a trip into Ohio.
Ohio was the home of several Algonquian-speaking Native American tribes long before the first Europeans reached North America. Sites like the Serpent Mound State Memorial, constructed by the Hopewell people thousands of years ago, are amazing examples of ancient Native American culture.
During the 18th century the French established a series of fur trading outposts in the area, though the French lost control of the region to Britain as a result of the 1754 French and Indian War. British rule was immediately challenged by colonists who mounted Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1760.
The American Revolution brought few battles to Ohio but the 1783 Treaty of Paris saw Britain give up all claims over Ohio, which became part of the Northwest Territory. In 1803 Ohio became the 17th state in America. Though many Native Americans fled westwards to avoid persecution, some stayed in the state and assimilated.
Michigan and Ohio went to war over the Toledo Strip in 1835, a strip of land along Lake Erie that Ohio eventually received. The Ohio River and the state’s centralized railroads were vital to the Civil War effort, so Ohio played a fairly significant role in the conflict. Ohio sided with the Union north, providing more troops than any other state along with three top Union generals including Ulysses S. Grant and William Sherman.
Ohio has always been closely involved with the development of America’s government, its industry, and its trade. Eight US presidents were born in Ohio, and the state is still considered a barometer for the winning candidate in presidential elections. Today, Ohio continues to survive on industry, agriculture, and a small tourism sector. Its well-rounded economy suggests it will always be one of America’s more stable states.
Ohio’s nickname, the “Heart of it All,” is an apt description for both its history and its current society. The state has always been within close proximity to the most densely populated areas of the country, a hub for transport, trade, and industry. From eight US presidents to inventors like the Wright Brothers, Ohio seems to be continually producing important and impressive individuals who shape the fabric of America.
Its population reflects this heritage with a diverse mix of cultures ranging from Germans in Cleveland to the Amish in Holmes County. Outside of the big cities, Ohio is largely rural. Its landscape is rolling and picturesque, dotted with farms and small towns. The people are equally pastoral, with a quiet conservative way of life and an obvious passion for sports and outdoor recreation. Visitors generally remark on how surprised they were after touring Ohio. It’s not an obvious travel destination, but between its friendly cities and its natural attractions Ohio has a lot to offer.