Ohio is the 17th state to enter the Union. The first Europeans to explore the area were the French, who arrived in present day Ohio in the mid-17th century. Before their arrival, the area had populated by several tribes of Native Americans, including the Eerie Indians. Tribal wars with the Iroquois Indians had left the land largely uninhabited for the decade preceding the arrival of Europeans.
Ohio became part of the Northwest Territory of the United States in 1787. At that point, slavery was outlawed in the Territory. Marietta, Ohio became the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. Colonel Ebenezer Sproat was instrumental in negotiating with the native people of Ohio, who gave him the nickname roughly translated as Big Buckeye. This is probably the origin of Ohio’s nickname, the Buckeye state.
Several land companies began to buy up huge tracts of land in the territory. These brought an influx of immigrants from New York and New England. These families traveled by coach and covered wagon, often using old Indian Paths to traverse the newly opened territory.
In December of 1801, Congress determined that Ohio’s population was nearing the point of achieving statehood. Thomas Jefferson signed Ohio in as the 17th state in 1803.