Timeline of Ohio History

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Prehistoric Period: 13000 B.C.-A.D. 1650

Early Historic Period to Statehood: 1650-1803

Note: By the time the first European explorers arrived in North America in the late 1400s, the original indigenous people had inhabited what is today the State of Ohio for over 14,000 years. Starting with Ohio’s earliest ancient inhabitants, American Indian tribes and nations built and sustained rich, sophisticated, and productive societies and cultures. Ohio was not discovered by European explorers or settlers, as these lands were already claimed by American Indian groups as ancestral homelands, and many American Indians today consider Ohio their true home.

  • 1640: Beaver Wars–The Haudenosaunee, also called the Five Nations (later called the Six Nations in 1722), start a campaign called the Beaver Wars, during which they fight other American Indian groups, including those in Ohio Country, for their lands and territories in order to gain access to their fur–bearing animal game, especially beavers and deer.
  • Mid-17th century: Europeans arrive and begin to build permanent settlements.
  • 1748: The Ohio Company forms in Virginia to settle the Ohio River Valley.
  • ca. 1745–1765: Emigrant Tribes come to Ohio, requiring new alliances and “Wampum Diplomacy”. The Lenape (Delaware) emigrate during this period, negotiating with the Seneca, Wyandot, and Miami for new lands in Ohio.
    • 1763: Treaty of Paris–ends the French and Indian War, and surrenders all French controlled lands to the British, including Ohio Country.
    • 1763: Pontiac's Rebellion–In an attempt to prevent the British from allowing colonists to settle on Indian lands, Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa Tribe, organizes an alliance with other tribes to drive the British from west of the Appalachian Mountains.
    • 1763: Proclamation of 1763–After the British end Pontiac’s Rebellion, Britain issues the Proclamation of 1763, which forbids British colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains.
  • 1768: Treaty of Fort Stanwix–Signed by British officials and Haudenosaunee leaders, the treaty relinquishes Haudenosaunee claims to lands south of the Ohio River. While the Iroquois agree to give up this land, other tribes living in Ohio do not, including the Lenape, Seneca–Cayuga, and Shawnee Tribes.
  • 1774: Lord Dunmore's War–Anglo–American settlers ignore the Proclamation of 1763, which led to violent confrontations with American Indian groups in Ohio Country. Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, sends one thousand Virginia militiamen into West Virginia to attack the Shawnee in retaliation for a series of attacks led by Chief Cornstalk (Shawnee) and Chief Logan (Seneca–Cayuga).
    • 1775: Hostilities begin with Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.
    • 1781: Final major battle fought at Yorktown, Virginia.
  • 1782: Gnadenhutten Massacre–Pennsylvania militia murder 96 Christian Lenape men, women, and children at the Moravian missionary village in Gnadenhütten, Ohio.
  • 1790-1794: Ohio Indian Wars–a series of violent skirmishes between the United States and American Indian tribes living in Ohio following the American Revolution.
    • 1790: Harmar's Defeat–Indian militia, led by Myaamia (Miami) Chief Little Turtle, defeats Josiah Harmar, commander of the U.S. Army in the Northwest Territory after launching an attack on American Indian villages in western Ohio.
    • 1791: St. Clair's Defeat–Little Turtle leads Myaamia warriors in victory against American troops commanded by Arthur St. Clair.
    • 1794: Battle of Fallen Timbers–On August 20, 1794, an American Indian Alliance and the United States Army, led by General Anthony Wayne, come together at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in present-day Toledo, Ohio. This is the culmination of the Northwest Indian Wars as American Indian tribes attempt to thwart Anglo–American settlers from encroaching on their lands in the Ohio Country.
    • 1795:Treaty of Greeneville (1795)–After eight months of negotiations, American Indian tribal leaders and the United States sign the Treaty of Greeneville, which relinquishes all Indian Territory south and east of the treaty line, and white settlers cede all land north and west of the treaty line. The treaty ends the Ohio Indian Wars.
  • 1802: Enabling Act–sets the stage for Congress to admit Ohio to the Union.

Early Statehood: 1803-1846

  • 1812: City of Columbus is founded and named the new state capitol.
  • 1812-1814: The War of 1812 – was fought between the United States and Britain, with American Indian tribes divided between the two sides. Tecumseh, a Shawnee military leader, and his confederacy fought with the British to defend Indian lands.
  • 1816: State government relocates to Columbus.
  • 1833: Oberlin College, the first coeducational college in the United States is founded.
  • 1835: Boundary dispute between Michigan and Ohio leads to the Toledo War.
  • 1846-1848: Mexican War –the United States and Mexico fight after the U.S. annexation of Texas. By signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico recognizes U.S. sovereignty over Texas.

American Civil War: 1860-1865

  • 1862: Emancipation Proclamation– President Lincoln signs an executive order freeing enslaved Africans in southern states.
  • 1864: Sherman leads his troops on his " March to the Sea" from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia.
  • 1865: Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Industrialization and Urbanization: 1866-1900

  • 1868: Ohioan Ulysses S. Grant is elected to his first of two terms as the 18th President of the United States.
  • 1881: Charles Guiteau shoots President Garfield, who dies three months later, in Washington D.C.
  • 1894: Invention of the first gasoline-powered automobile in the U.S.
  • 1896: Ohioan William McKinley is elected to his first of two terms as the 25th President of the United States.

The Progressive Era: 1901-1928

  • 1903: Ohioans Orville and Wilbur Wright complete the first successful flight of a powered airplane.
  • 1908: Ohioan William H. Taft is elected the 27th President of the United States.
  • 1913: Flood of 1913– at least 428 Ohioans die and properties across Ohio are destroyed.
    • 1917: Camp Sherman is constructed in Ross County to train World War I soldiers.
    • 1918: Approximately 1,200 troops die at Camp Sherman during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.
    • 1918: Colonel Charles Young rides on horseback from Wilberforce, Ohio, to Washington D.C. after the U.S. denies his request to command U.S. troops in Europe.

The Great Depression and World War II: 1929-1945

  • 1941-1945: The World War II entangles the United States and Ohio.

The Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement: 1946-1975

  • 1953: Correcting an oversight, Congress passes a resolution officially recognizing Ohio Statehood and declaring Ohio's date of entry into the Union as March 1, 1803.
  • 1962: Ohioan John Glenn becomes the first person from the United States to orbit the earth.

Modern Ohio

  • 1998: At the age of 77, astronaut John Glenn becomes the oldest man to travel into space.
  • 2001: Terrorist attacks on September 11 in New York City, NY and Washington D.C., lead to a flurry of anti-terrorist activities in Ohio and throughout the nation.