A Look at Ohio

From Ohio History Central
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Ohio is a political, not a geographic, unit. Its boundaries are imaginary; they exist only on paper. Many of the state's geographic features continue into its neighboring states and Canada. There are no high mountains or wide bodies of water, which completely separate Ohio from its neighbors. Lake Erie and the Ohio River are the only natural features that contribute to the state's political boundaries. Two of the original Colonies, Pennsylvania and Virginia, determined Ohio's eastern and southern boundaries when the Confederation Congress established the Northwest Territory. Later, the U.S. Congress fixed Ohio's western boundary, as well as its northern boundary west of Lake Erie when Ohio became a state. The international boundary with Canada through Lake Erie determined the rest of Ohio's northern boundary.

Still, Ohio has a distinct, overall geographic character. And it is important to understand the geography of Ohio in order to understand Ohio's history as well as it place in the world today.


Size 44,828 square miles
Land 40,953 square miles
Water 3,875 square miles
Water in Lake Erie 3,499 square miles
Inland water 376 square miles
Rivers and streams 44,000 miles in length
Population 11,689,442 (2018 census estimate)
Population density 260.76 people per square mile (based off above 2018 census estimate)
Farm land 15,200,000 acres or 23,750 square miles
Forested land 6,146,000 acres or 9,603 square miles
Largest county Ashtabula County, 711 square miles
Smallest county Lake County, 232 square miles
Highest point Campbell Hill, Logan County, 1,549 feet above sea level
Lowest point Ohio River near Cincinnati, Hamilton County, 455 feet above sea level
Length of the state 205 miles
Width of the state 230 miles

See Also