Colonial War Period: 1689-1763 AD

The Ohio Valley (also referred to as Ohio Country) consisted of modern-day states Ohio, eastern Indiana, western Pennsylvania, and northwestern Virginia.  The region was bounded on the east by the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes to the North, and was bisected by the Mississippi River system.

Throughout the 1600s and 1700s both England and France claimed ownership of the Ohio.  By the mid-1700s both empires had sent merchants to the area to trade with the region’s Indian nations, i.e. Chipewa, Erie, Illinois and Delaware.  The Ohio was a major cause of conflict between the two European colonial rivals.  New France controlled the region during the colonial period by establishing alliances with the various Indian nations and by constructing forts; however, following Britain’s defeat of France in the French-Indian War the English gained control of the coveted region in 1763.

Although the English no longer had to worry about the French, they were confronted by New France’s former Indian allies.  The indigenous peoples were not happy that England had won the war and were even less enthusiastic about the possibility of the Ohio being finally opened up to white settlement.  A number of conflicts between England and the Indians resulted, i.e. Pontiac’s Rebellion, etc. that convinced Britain something had to be done to bring the cost of occupying the area down.

Thus, to prevent bloodshed (and, more importantly, to reduce military expenses) England issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763.  The Proclamation prohibited colonists from the Thirteen Colonies to settle west of the Appalachians.  The American colonies, in particular Virginia, regarded the Proclamation with disfavor.  They wanted to move into the area and farm the fertile lands of adjacent to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  England’s policy of preventing settlement pleased the natives but was one of the contributing factos to the eventual outbreak of the American Revolution in 1776.

Following Great Britain's defeat in the American Revolution (1783) the newly independent American states controlled what is now Ohio.  The United States government arranged for the surveying and sale of land in what is now Ohio. Tensions between whites and Indians quickly erupted as more and more whites entered the region.   The American federal government secured the land for white settlement through the fighting of genocidal wars and the signing of treaties.

Ohio became the seventeenth state of the United States of America on February 19, 1803.