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, state, United States

Ohio, midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania (NE), West Virginia (SE) and Kentucky (S) across the Ohio River, Indiana (W), and Michigan and Lake Erie (N).

Facts and Figures

Area, 41,222 sq mi (106,765 sq km). Pop. (2020) 11,689,100, a 1.3% increase since the 2010 census. As of the 2020 census, the state's population was: White alone, 81.7%; Black alone, 13.1%; Hispanic or Latino, 4%; American Indian and Alaska native alone, 0.3%; Asian alone, 2.5%; Two or More Races, 2.4%. Capital and largest city, Columbus. Statehood, Mar. 1, 1803 (17th state). Highest pt., Campbell Hill, 1,550 ft (473 m); lowest pt., Ohio River, 433 ft (132 m). Nickname, Buckeye State. Motto, With God, All Things Are Possible. State bird, cardinal. State flower, scarlet carnation. State tree, buckeye. Abbr., OH


From the dunes on Lake Erie to the gorge-cut plateau along the Ohio River, from which Ohio takes its name, the land is fairly flat, with some pleasant rolling country and, in the southeast, small rugged hills leading to the mountains of West Virginia. Before the coming of settlers to the state, it was covered with miles of virgin forest, but today only vestiges of the trees that helped to build the many cities remain. Columbus is the capital and largest city. Cleveland is the center of the state's largest metropolitan area. Other major cities are Cincinnati, Toledo, and Akron.


Ohio is highly industrialized, yet it also continues to draw economic riches from the earth. Among national leaders in the production of lime, clays, and salt, it is a historic center of ceramic and glass industries. Ohio's soil supports rich farms, especially where it was improved ages ago by additions of glacier-ground limestone. Although most of the state's income is derived from commerce and manufacturing, Ohio also has extensive farmland, and large amounts of corn, soybeans, hay, wheat, cattle, hogs, and dairy items are produced, although the number of family farms is rapidly dwindling.

Railroads, canals, and highways crisscrossing the state have since the late 19th cent. provided the means for transporting large amounts of raw materials and manufactures. Lake Erie ports, chiefly Toledo and Cleveland, handle iron and copper ore, coal, oil, and finished materials (including steel and automobile parts). In spite of massive industrial decline since the 1960s, which has made Ohio the center of the “Rust Belt,” the state retains many manufacturing centers, with an emphasis on heavy industry. Leading products include transportation equipment, primary and fabricated metals, and machinery.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

Ohio's present constitution was adopted in 1851. It has been amended many times, most notably in 1912 after a constitutional convention adopted such changes as progressive labor provisions and such measures as initiative, referendum, and the direct primary. The state's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term and permitted two successive terms. Ohio's general assembly has a senate with 33 members, elected for four-year terms, and a house with 99 members. The state elects 2 senators and 16 representatives to the U.S. Congress and has 18 electoral votes. Republicans have predominated in Ohio politics since the Civil War, but the state has often supported Democratic candidates.

Among the large number of institutions of higher learning in the state are Antioch Univ., at Yellow Springs; Bowling Green State Univ., at Bowling Green; Case Western Reserve Univ., at Cleveland; the College of Wooster, at Wooster; Kent State Univ., at Kent; Kenyon College, at Gambier; Miami Univ., at Oxford; Oberlin College, at Oberlin; Ohio State Univ., at Columbus; Ohio Univ., at Athens; Ohio Wesleyan Univ., at Delaware; the Univ. of Cincinnati; the Univ. of Toledo; and Wilberforce Univ., at Wilberforce.


Prehistory to the American Revolution

In prehistoric times Ohio was inhabited by the Mound Builders, many of whose mounds are preserved in state parks and in the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (see National Parks and Monuments, table). Before the arrival of Europeans, E Ohio was the scene of warfare between the Iroquois and the Erie, which resulted in the extermination of the Erie. In addition to the Iroquois, other Native American tribes soon prominent in the region were the Miami, the Shawnee, and the Ottawa.

La Salle began his explorations of the Ohio valley in 1669 and claimed the entire area for France. The Ohio River became a magnet for fur traders and landseekers, and the British, attempting to move in (see Ohio Company), hotly contested the French claims. Rivalry for control of the forks of the Ohio River led to the outbreak (1754) of the last of the French and Indian Wars. The defeat of the French gave the land to the British, but British possession was disturbed by Pontiac's Rebellion. The British government issued a proclamation in 1763 forbidding settlement W of the Appalachian Mts. Then in 1774, with the Quebec Act, the British placed the region between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes within the boundaries of Canada. The colonists' resentment over these acts contributed to the discontent that led to the American Revolution, during which military operations were conducted in the Ohio country.

From the Settlement of the Old Northwest to Statehood

Ohio was part of the vast area ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris (1783; see Paris, Treaty of). Conflicting claims to land in that area made by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia were settled by relinquishment of almost all of the claims (see Western Reserve) and the organization of the Old Northwest by the Ordinance of 1787. Ohio was the first region developed under the provisions of that ordinance, with the activities of the Ohio Company of Associates promoted by Rufus Putnam and Manasseh Cutler. Marietta, founded in 1788, was the first permanent American settlement in the Old Northwest.

In the years that followed, various land companies were formed, and settlers poured in from the East, either down the Ohio on flatboats and barges, or across the mountains by wagon—their numbers varying with conditions but steadily expanding the area's population. The Native Americans, supported by the British, resisted American settlement. They successfully opposed campaigns led by Josiah Harmar and Arthur St. Clair but were decisively defeated by Anthony Wayne in the battle of Fallen Timbers (1794). The British thereafter (1796) withdrew their outposts from the Northwest under the terms of Jay's Treaty, and the area was pacified. Ohio became a territory in 1799. General St. Clair, as the first governor, ruled in an arbitrary fashion that made Ohioans for many years afterward distrustful of all government. In 1802 a state convention drafted a constitution, and in 1803 Ohio entered the Union, with Chillicothe as its capital. Columbus became the permanent capital in 1816.

The War of 1812 and Further Settlement

In the War of 1812 the Americans lost many of the early battles of the war that took place in the Old Northwest, and their military frontier was pushed back to the Ohio River. Two British attacks on Ohio soil were successfully resisted: one against Fort Meigs at the mouth of the Maumee River and the other against Fort Stephenson on the Sandusky. The area was further secured by Oliver Hazard Perry's naval victory on Lake Erie near Put-in-Bay, Ohio, and William Henry Harrison's victory in the battle of the Thames on Canadian soil.

After the war Ohio's growth was spurred by the building of the Erie Canal, other canals, and toll roads. The National Road was a vital settlement and commercial artery. Settlement of the Western Reserve by New Englanders (especially those from Connecticut) gives NE Ohio a decidedly New England cultural landscape. Ohio's society of small farmers exported their produce down the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers to St. Louis and New Orleans. In 1837 Ohio won a territorial struggle with Michigan usually called the Toledo War. The Loan Law, adopted in the Panic of 1837, encouraged railroad and industrial development. Railroads gradually succeeded canals, preparing the way for the industrial expansion that followed the Civil War.

The Civil War, Industrialization, and Politics

Most Ohioans were sympathetic with the Union in the Civil War, and many Ohioans served in the Union army. Native sons such as Joshua R. Giddings, Salmon P. Chase, and Edwin M. Stanton had long been prominent opponents of slavery. Nevertheless, the Peace Democrats, the Knights of the Golden Circle, and the Copperheads were very active; Clement L. Vallandigham drew many votes in the gubernatorial election of 1863. Ohio was the scene of the northernmost penetration of Confederate forces in the war—the famous raid (1863) of John Hunt Morgan, which terrorized the people of the countryside until Morgan and most of his men were finally captured in the southeast corner of the state.

After the Civil War industrial development grew rapidly when shipments of ore from the upper Great Lakes region increased and the development of the petroleum industry in NE Ohio shifted the center of economic activity from the banks of the Ohio River to the shores of Lake Erie, particularly around Cleveland. Immigrants began to swell the population, and huge fortunes were made.

Ohio became very important politically. The state contributed seven American presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding. Big business and politics became entwined as in the relations of Marcus A. Hanna and McKinley. City bosses such as Cincinnati's George B. Cox also followed this pattern. The state as a whole was for many years steadily Republican, despite the rise of organized labor in the late 19th cent. and considerable labor strife. In the 1890s the reform-minded mayor of Toledo, Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones, won national fame for his espousal of city ownership of municipal utilities.

Twentieth-Century Developments

Floods in the many rivers flowing to the Ohio and in the Ohio River itself have long been a problem; a devastating flood in 1913 led to the establishment of the Miami valley conservation project. Continuing long-term state and federal projects have improved locks and dams along the entire length of the Ohio and its major tributaries, for navigation as well as flood control purposes.

Both farms and industries in Ohio were hard-hit by the Great Depression that began in 1929. In the 1930s the state was wracked by major strikes such as the sit-down strikes in Akron (1935–36) and the so-called Little Steel strike (1937). World War II brought great prosperity to Ohio, but labor strife later resumed, as in the steel strikes of 1949 and 1959. Political unrest also affected the state in the protests of the 1960s and most violently in 1970 when four students were killed by national guardsmen who fired on a group of Vietnam War protesters at Kent State Univ.

Ohio's economy went into massive decline in the 1970s and 80s as the automobile, steel, and coal industries virtually collapsed, causing unemployment to soar. Akron, once world famous as a rubber center, stopped manufacturing rubber products altogether by the mid-1980s. During this period, the state's northern industrial centers were especially hard-hit and lost much of their population. Since then, Ohio has concentrated on diversifying its economy, largely through expansion of the service sector. The state became an important center for the health-care industry with the opening of the Cleveland Clinic. Industrial research is also important, with Nela Park near Cleveland and Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus among the more notable research centers; there are also still important rubber research laboratories in Akron.

Republicans George Voinovich (1991-99) and Bob Taft (1999-2005) governed the state for 16 years, but a Democrat, Ted Strickland, was elected to the post in 2006, serving one term. Republicans John Kasich (2011-19) and Mike DeWine (2019-) followed; Kasich unsuccessfully ran for in the Republican Presidential primaries opposing Donald Trump in 2018, and endorsed Joe Bidenin the 2020 election.


See W. Havighurst, The Heartland: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois (1962); E. H. Roseboom and F. P. Weisenburger, A History of Ohio (rev. ed. 1967); K. W. Wheeler, For the Union (1968); F. A. Bonadio, North of Reconstruction: Ohio Politics, 1865–1870 (1970); R. Boryczka and L. L. Cary, No Strength Without Union: An Illustrated History of Ohio Workers, 1803–1980 (1982); J. Kunstmann, The Encyclopedia of Ohio (1983); W. J. Shkurti and J. Bartle, ed., Benchmark Ohio (1989).


, river, United States
Ohio, river, 981 mi (1,579 km) long, formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in SW Pa., at Pittsburgh; it flows northwest, then generally southwest to enter the Mississippi River at Cairo, Ill. The Ohio's course follows a portion of the southern edge of the region covered by continental ice during the late Cenozoic era; glacial meltwater probably cut its original channel. The river is a major tributary of the Mississippi and supplies more water to it than does the Missouri River. The Ohio River basin covers c.204,000 sq mi (528,400 sq km); the chief tributaries are the Tennessee, Cumberland, Wabash, and Kentucky.

Flood Control and Canals

The Ohio is prone to spring flooding, and extensive flood control and protection devices have been constructed along the river and its tributaries. These devices also improve the river's navigability; a 9-ft (2.7-m) channel is maintained along its entire length. A system of modern locks and dams, constructed since 1955 to replace older structures, speeds the transit of barges and leisure craft. A canal (first opened in 1830) at Louisville bypasses the Falls of the Ohio, a 21-4-mi (3.6-km)-long series of rapids having a 24-ft (7-m) drop.

Human Impact

The Ohio River basin is one of the most populated and industrialized regions of the United States. Oil and steel account for most of the cargoes moved on the river. The principal river ports are Cincinnati, Louisville, and Pittsburgh. Eight states (Ill., Ind., Ky., N.Y., Ohio, Pa., Va., and W.Va.) affected by the river's industrial pollution ratified (1948) the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Compact. Some results of their cleanup efforts have become discernible, and the river now supports marinas and recreational facilities.


The French explorer La Salle reportedly reached the Ohio River in 1669, but there was no significant interest in the valley until the French and the British began to struggle for control of the river in the 1750s. An early settlement was established at the forks of the Ohio (modern Pittsburgh) by the Ohio Company of Virginia in 1749, but it was captured by the French in 1754, and the unfinished Fort Prince George was renamed Fort Duquesne; it was recaptured by the British and renamed Fort Pitt in 1758. At the end of the French and Indian Wars, Britain gained control of the river by the treaty of 1763, but settlement of the area was prohibited. Britain ceded the region to the United States at the end of the Revolutionary War (1783), and it was opened to settlement by the Ordinance of 1787, which established the Northwest Territory.

Until the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, the Ohio River was the main route to the newly opened West and the principal means of market transportation of the region's growing farm output. Traffic declined on the river after the railroads were built in the mid-1800s, although it revived after World War II. Comparatively little traffic remains on the Ohio, despite the new locks, dams, and channel improvements, which were all meant to spur economic activity on the river.


See W. Havighurst, River to the West (1970); W. Burmeister, Appalachian Waters 5: The Upper Ohio and Its Tributaries (1978).

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Ohio State Information

Phone: (614) 466-2000

Area (sq mi):: 44824.90 (land 40948.38; water 3876.53) Population per square mile: 280.00
Population 2005: 11,464,042 State rank: 0 Population change: 2000-20005 1.00%; 1990-2000 4.70% Population 2000: 11,353,140 (White 84.00%; Black or African American 11.50%; Hispanic or Latino 1.90%; Asian 1.20%; Other 2.40%). Foreign born: 3.00%. Median age: 36.20
Income 2000: per capita $21,003; median household $40,956; Population below poverty level: 10.60% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $28,207-$30,129
Unemployment (2004): 6.20% Unemployment change (from 2000): 2.20% Median travel time to work: 22.90 minutes Working outside county of residence: 27.10%

List of Ohio counties:

  • Adams County
  • Allen County
  • Ashland County
  • Ashtabula County
  • Athens County
  • Auglaize County
  • Belmont County
  • Brown County
  • Butler County
  • Carroll County
  • Champaign County
  • Clark County
  • Clermont County
  • Clinton County
  • Columbiana County
  • Coshocton County
  • Crawford County
  • Cuyahoga County
  • Darke County
  • Defiance County
  • Delaware County
  • Erie County
  • Fairfield County
  • Fayette County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Gallia County
  • Geauga County
  • Greene County
  • Guernsey County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hancock County
  • Hardin County
  • Harrison County
  • Henry County
  • Highland County
  • Hocking County
  • Holmes County
  • Huron County
  • Jackson County
  • Jefferson County
  • Knox County
  • Lake County
  • Lawrence County
  • Licking County
  • Logan County
  • Lorain County
  • Lucas County
  • Madison County
  • Mahoning County
  • Marion County
  • Medina County
  • Meigs County
  • Mercer County
  • Miami County
  • Monroe County
  • Montgomery County
  • Morgan County
  • Morrow County
  • Muskingum County
  • Noble County
  • Ottawa County
  • Paulding County
  • Perry County
  • Pickaway County
  • Pike County
  • Portage County
  • Preble County
  • Putnam County
  • Richland County
  • Ross County
  • Sandusky County
  • Scioto County
  • Seneca County
  • Shelby County
  • Stark County
  • Summit County
  • Trumbull County
  • Tuscarawas County
  • Union County
  • Van Wert County
  • Vinton County
  • Warren County
  • Washington County
  • Wayne County
  • Williams County
  • Wood County
  • Wyandot County
  • Counties USA: A Directory of United States Counties, 3rd Edition. © 2006 by Omnigraphics, Inc.

    Ohio Parks

    Parks Directory of the United States, 5th Edition. © 2007 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
    The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



    a state in the northeastern USA. Area, 106,760 sq km. Population, 10.7 million (1970), of which 75.3 percent is urban. The state capital is Columbus, and the principal economic centers are Cleveland and Cincinnati.

    The Appalachian Plateau, rising to an elevation of 460 m, is located in the east and gradually merges with the gently rolling Central Lowlands in the west. Average January temperatures are 0° to -3°C, and average July temperatures are 23° to 25°C. Annual precipitation varies from 800 to 1,000 mm. The Ohio, the major navigable river, is located in the south, and Lake Erie is in the north. Broad-leaved forests have been preserved on the plateau.

    Ohio is one of the most populous and economically developed states. Manufacturing is the leading branch of the state economy, employing 35 percent of the working population. Mining is also important; 40 million tons of coal are extracted annually, in addition to oil, natural gas, and 5 million tons of salt. Heavy industry alone accounts for more than three-fourths of all industrial output. In the smelting of iron and steel, Ohio is second only to Pennsylvania; iron and steel mills are concentrated in Youngs-town, Cleveland, and Canton. Ohio is the country’s leading producer of electric steel. Other important industries include the manufacture of machine tools and press-forging electrical and radioelectronics equipment. Ohio is a center of the automotive and aerospace industries and also produces heavy machinery, instruments, business machines, home appliances (especially in Dayton), and roller bearings (in Canton).

    Cleveland and Cincinnati are important centers of the chemical industry, while the rubber industry, in which Ohio plays the leading role, is located in Akron. The glass, silicate products, cement, paper products, and food-processing industries are also high-output industries in Ohio. An Atomic Energy Commission facility near Portsmouth produces uranium-235. As of 1972, the combined capacity of Ohio’s electric power plants was 20 million kW.

    Animal husbandry accounts for about 60 percent of the state’s commercial agricultural output. Dairying predominates in northeastern Ohio, and the raising of animals for meat in the west. Land under cultivation amounts to 5 million ha. The principal crops are corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, fruits (including vineyards along Lake Erie), and hay.


    Ohio was originally inhabited by Indians. In the 17th century the French were the first Europeans to reach the Ohio region. The Ohio territory was long the object of a colonial rivalry between France and Great Britain. Transferred to Great Britain in accordance with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Ohio was ceded in 1783 to the USA. During the period of colonization, part of the Indian population was exterminated, while the remainder were forced off their lands.

    Ohio became a state in 1802. During the Civil War (1861–65), Ohio supported the Union.



    a river in the USA, a left tributary of the Mississippi River. The Ohio is 1,580 km long and drains an area of 528,100 sq km. It is formed by the junction at Pittsburgh, Pa., of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, both of which originate in the Appalachian Mountains. The Ohio’s principal tributaries are the Muskingum, Miami, and Wabash rivers from the right and the Kentucky, Kanawha, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers from the left.

    Before reaching Louisville, Ky., the Ohio flows across the Appalachian Plateau. Farther down it passes through the Central Lowlands. The Ohio is fed by mixed sources. High water occurs during the cold season, and low water during summer and autumn, with minimum water levels in August and September.

    At the city of Metropolis, III., the Ohio discharges an average of approximately 8,000 cu m per sec, and its annual flow is about 250 cu km. The greatest increases in water level occur at Pittsburgh (10–12 m), Cincinnati, Ohio (17–20 m), and the river’s mouth (14–16 m). Heavy floods occur periodically, and those of 1887, 1913, 1927, and 1937 were particularly disastrous.

    The Ohio has locks and is navigable throughout its entire length, with a minimum charted depth of 2.7 m. The total length of the waterways within the Ohio Basin is approximately 4,000 km. Canals have been built in the Louisville area in order to bypass rapids. Most of the large hydroelectric power plants in the river’s basin are on the Tennessee River. The Ohio has been polluted by industrial effluents. The cities of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Louisville are situated on the Ohio.


    The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


    Seventeenth state; admitted on March 1, 1803

    State capital: Columbus Nicknames: Buckeye State; Mother of Presidents; Gateway

    State State motto: With God All Things Are Possible State animal: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) State beverage: Tomato juice State bird: Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) State groundhog: Buckeye Chuck State flower: Scarlet carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus);

    wildflower: Large white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) State fossil: Trilobite (Isotelus) State gemstone: Ohio flint State herb capital: Gahanna State insect: Ladybird beetle (ladybug, Hippodamia

    convergens) State poetry day: Ohio Poetry Day (third Friday of every

    October) State prehistoric monument: Newark earthworks State reptile: Black racer snake (Coluber constrictor constric­

    tor) State rock song: “Hang on Sloopy” State song: “Beautiful Ohio” State tree: Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

    More about state symbols at:


    More about the state at:



    AmerBkDays-2000, p. 175 AnnivHol-2000, p. 36


    State web site: www.ohio.gov

    Office of the Governor 77 S High St 30th Fl Columbus, OH 43215 614-466-3555 fax: 614-466-9354 governor.ohio.gov

    Secretary of State 180 E Broad St 16th Fl Columbus, OH 43215 614-466-2655 fax: 614-644-0649 www.sos.state.oh.us

    State Library of Ohio 274 E 1st Ave Columbus, OH 43201 614-644-7061 fax: 614-466-3584 winslo.state.oh.us

    Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


    1. a state of the central US, in the Midwest on Lake Erie: consists of prairies in the W and the Allegheny plateau in the E, the Ohio River forming the S and most of the E borders. Capital: Columbus. Pop.: 11 435 798 (2003 est.). Area: 107 044 sq. km (41 330 sq. miles)
    2. a river in the eastern US, formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers at Pittsburgh: flows generally W and SW to join the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois, as its chief E tributary. Length: 1570 km (975 miles)
    Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
    References in periodicals archive ?
    Manufacturing and mining were the two sectors that grew noticeably more in Ohio over this period.
    The common misconception is that the "All States Endorsement" provided through an out-of-state employers insurance policy will provide coverage for their employees while temporarily in Ohio. Unfortunately, Ohio R.C.
    Ohio's ranking in college attainment rates among the 50 states has been static for the last three decades, hovering around the 25th percentile.
    Prior to joining the Ohio Department of Commerce, Goodman was with the Battelle Memorial Institute as a senior policy and government relations advisor.
    Finding that Zakharov was not an Ohio resident, the court ruled that, for lack of sufficient Ohio contacts, Plaintiff had not properly served him with process.
    Before reviewing the details of the changes, it is important to understand Ohio's individual income tax structure.
    March 6--Sam B's, Bowling Green, Ohio; Scholarship Night.