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Ohio History, Language and Culture

History of Ohio

The known history of Ohio dates back to around 13th century BCE, when the area was inhabited by Paleo-Indians. The Adenas emerged in present-day Ohio around 800 BCE and many of the ceremonial mounds that they built still exist and can be visited today. 

In the 1700s French fur traders arrived in Ohio, building forts to facilitate trade routes linking Canada with the settlements along the Mississippi River. Towards the middle of the century, British and French fur traders became rivals in the area, sparking the Seven Years War (also known as The French and Indian War) in 1754. George Washington led troops through battles against the French in the Ohio Country and despite losing several key battles, the British won the war and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 established that the Ohio Country would be annexed to Britain.

Britain’s victory was short-lived: in 1775 the American Revolutionary War began, ending in Britain’s loss of the American colonies to the new United States. Ohio became recognised as part of the Northwest Territory, and was granted statehood on 01 March 1803.

Industrial activity in Ohio began at the onset of the 19th century with the Hopewell Furnace, one of the state’s first iron plants. Southern Ohio became a hotbed of blast furnaces whilst the discovery of coal introduced a prosperous steel industry. By the 1850s Ohio was ranked third in the USA for iron and steel production, moving up to second position by 1892. The state further cemented its economic success with the Ohio Oil Rush, which led to the creation of 86 oil refineries by 1884, and produced the world’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil in Cleveland. Other well-known companies founded in Ohio include the Dow Chemical Company, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and Procter and Gamble.

Ohio bears the nickname the “Mother of Modern Presidents” because it was home to seven American Presidents – Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft and Warren G. Harding.

Ohio Culture

Religion in Ohio

The leading religious groups in Ohio are Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic. Minority groups include Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims.

Social Conventions in Ohio

Ohioan culture has been influenced by German American migrants who started to settle in the state in the mid-1800s. They brought a Midland dialect to Ohio, which originated in Pennsylvania and is still spoken today. Ohio is often referenced as the epitome of American suburban culture. Ohioans are known as courteous and polite people.

Language in Ohio

Ohio's population is majority English-speaking but there is also a significant minority who speak Spanish and smaller sections of the population that speak French and German.