There were several
different types of Indians who occupied what is
now Ohio. These people ranged from the Paleo-Indians
who date back to 13,000 B.C., to the Shawnee and
Algonquin Indians who occupied the area during the
Colonial and Early Republic times.
were the first humans to occupy present-day Ohio.
These people date back to 13,000 B.C. and survived
by hunting large vertebrates such as the wooly mammoth
and the mastodon. The next group of people to occupy
the area were the Archaic people, a hunting and
gathering group that disappeared by 1000 B.C. The
Adena came after the Archaic. These inhabitants
appeared in Ohio sometime between 1000 and 800 B.C.
The Adena were semi-permanent, cultivators and traders.
They left behind burial mounds that still exist
today. This group disappeared sometime between A.D.
100 and 300 . The Hopewell began to occupy the southern
Ohio river valleys around 100 BC. Like the Adena,
the Hopewell were hunters and gatherers as well
as traders and cultivators. These people left behind
artwork in the form of large geometric shapes in
the ground that can still be seen today in Marietta,
Newark, Portsmouth and Hamilton County. These shapes
are interesting not only for their artistic value
but because they indicate that the Hopewell possessed
some surveying skills. But, by A.D. 600 these people
After A.D. 1000 two
distinct groups would follow the Hopewell, the Fort
Ancient People and the Whittlesey Focus People.
The Fort Ancient people lived in southern Ohio and
were part of a larger Mississippi people who demonstrated
similarities to native cultures of central Mexico.
These people grew new strains of maize, beans and
squash which allowed them to sustain a larger settlement.
By the mid 17th century, however, they too would
disappear, with the remains possibly being absorbed
by the Shawnee. The Whittlesey Focus People inhabited
northern Ohio, building villages that overlooked
the river valleys. Many of these people fell victim
to European diseases or guns in the hands of Iroquois.
With the coming of the Iroquois, Ohio's pre-historic
Indian period comes to an end, and the Historic
Indian period begins.
For fifty years after
the demise of the pre-historic people no one inhabited
Ohio. The Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy,
later known as the Six Nations, were based in New
York and destroyed tribes ranging from the Northern
Great Lakes region to the Ohio River. Small villages
would begin to appear in Ohio in the early 18th
century becoming more permanent by the 1730s. From
the north came the Hurons, also known as the Wyandots.
They were of the Iroquoian linguistic group who
settled in the Sandusky Bay area of Ohio after being
driven from Ontario by the Iroquois. In the 1740s,
the Miamis came to Ohio from the west. These people
were also known as the Mingos, and were of the Algonquin
linguistic group. This group was a combination of
people from other tribes, mostly Senecas, but Cayugas,
Mohawks, Onandagas, Oniedas, Tuscaroras and Mohicans
were among them as well. The Ottowa, an Algonquin
linguistic group, moved into Ohio from the north
in 1740, and the Shawnee, another Algonquin group,
came from Pennsylvania to occupy Ohio's Scioto Valley.
Between 1750 and 1815 other tribes moved into Ohio
for short periods of time; some of these tribes
include the Pottawatomies, Chippewas, Kickapoos
The Native Americans
of Ohio enjoyed a long history before the discovery
of the Americas by Europeans, and played a big role
in the settlement of Ohio by way of resistance.
Many Native Americans took part in Indian wars,
as well as the French and Indian War and the American
The French Presence
While the English
were settling Jamestown, the French were gaining
a foothold on the St. Lawrence, a river explored
by Jacques Cartier in the 1530s and 1540s who claimed
it for France. Samuel de Champlain established a
post in Quebec in 1608 and continued to establish
a French presence in North America over the next
The area that includes
present day Ohio became the subject of a three way
tug of war. The British, wanting control of the
Great Lakes region, claimed that their charters
from the King gave them the right to it. However,
the French discovered the region first, and claimed
it for themselves while the Native American presence
was laying claim to the entire Great Lakes and Northwestern
The French continued
to build forts in the region and maintained trade
with the Indians. Meanwhile, traders from Pennsylvania
and Virginia began to encroach on French and Indian
trade relations by undercutting French prices. Virginia
traders and settlement companies continued pushing
into the area, and the French continued building
fortifications. Soon, these French forts would be
interpreted as an invasion, and the war between
the colonists and the French would begin.
The French and Indian War
The French controlled
the Ohio area for three years during the war, but
by 1759 all of the key French forts had fallen.
In 1760 Montreal was seized, proving to be the final
blow to the French. After the British had won, they
held claim of the Great Lakes region, and had to
control it, which was hard to do because of constant
Indian attacks. England was forced to deplore 100,000
men to the Colonies to control the borders, which
Parliament didn't want to pay for. This led to the
Sugar Act, a tax on the Colonists which kindled
separatist fervor, one of several factors leading
up to the American Revolution.
Ohio and the American Revolution
Although not yet a state,
Ohio Played a significant role in the Revolution.
The issues between the French, English and the Indians
in the Ohio area were a precursor to the war and
added to the desire for the colonists to rule themselves.
There was also a lot of fighting that took place
in what is now Ohio, and when the war ended in the
east, it was brought to a climax in the Northwest
in 1782 when a group of Christian Indians were massacred
University of California, Santa Barbara
of Historical Reviews
© 2005 Rickie Lazzerini,
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