The Firelands was part of the Western Reserve of Connecticut in the Northwest Territory.
In 1786, Connecticut ceded most of its western lands to the U.S. government, in preparation for the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The state kept its claim to an area of land in the northeastern portion of the Northwest Territory known as the Connecticut Western Reserve.
Connecticut chose to sell most of the land in the Western Reserve to finance the state's educational system. Approximately 500,000 acres were reserved for Connecticut citizens who had suffered property losses during the American Revolution.
This portion of the Western Reserve became known as the Firelands or the Sufferers' Lands. During the Revolution, British troops had burned several Connecticut towns and many of their residents had lost everything they owned. They were able to start over again in the Northwest Territory. A company called the Ohio Corporation distributed the land to eligible applicants. Much of the settlement of the region did not occur until after the War of 1812.<