Early history examines the archaeological record that tells the story of the first inhabitants of Ohio. Learn about the prehistory and culture of
the first early inhabitants, and what lessons it might teach us about the early history of Ohio.
Ohio First Early Inhabitants
13,000 - 7000 BC - Paleoindians were the hunting and gathering peoples who originally discovered the Americas. They lived in Ohio in the
last centuries of the Ice Age. They hunted now extinct species of big game animals such as mammoth and mastodon. They also hunted deer and small game,
fished, and gathered nuts and fruit when available. Their unusual spear points are found across North America.
8000 - 500 BC - Archaic hunters and gatherers continued the successful way of life of their Paleoindian ancestors, but moved about in a
smaller area. They found new ways to harvest the rich natural bounty of Ohio's forests. Hunting and Gathering in Ohio's Forests. The Archaic tradition
appeared at the end of the Ice Age. The climate had warmed and thick forests grew across Ohio.
800 BC - AD 1200 - The Woodland Tradition generally marks the appearance of pottery, cultivated plants, settled village life and mound
building. In addition, the pace of cultural change began to quicken. Archaeologists have defined several cultures within the Woodland Tradition.
800 BC - AD 100 - The Adena people were Ohio's first farmers. Hunting and gathering continued to play an important part in their livelihood.
The Adena began to live a more settled way of life based on growing plants such as sunflower, squash, and some weedy plants. Burial mounds became
the ritual focus for Adena communities.
100 BC-AD 500 - The Hopewell culture grew out of the Adena culture. The mounds and enclosures built by the Hopewell were larger and more
varied in design, but Hopewell farming villages still were small and scattered around the great ceremonial centers
AD 1000 - 1650 - During the Late Prehistoric Tradition, several cultures arose in different parts of Ohio. Late Prehistoric people lived
in large villages surrounded by a stockade wall. Sometimes they built their villages on a plateau overlooking a river. Late Prehistoric people grew
different plants in their gardens. Maize (or corn) and beans became the most important foods. Squash was another important plant, but ancient Ohioans
had been growing squash since the Late Archaic.
AD 1650 - 1843 - The Iroquois drove out the native tribes of the Ohio valley during the Beaver Wars. Later, as the Iroquois tribes grew
less powerful, other tribes from the east and south moved into Ohio. Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandot, and Miami are among the groups who lived in Ohio
when the first European pioneers moved into this area. The Historic era ended when the United States government forced the Indians out of Ohio and
onto reservations in Oklahoma.
1688 - 1763 - The French and Indian Wars between France and Great Britain for lands in North America. The Iroquois Indians were
allied to the French and the Algoquian speaking tribes were allied to the British. The French and Indian Wars was a generic names for a series of
wars, battles and conflicts involving the French colonies in Canada and Louisiana and the 13 British colonies consisting of:
King William's War (1688-1699)
Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)
King George's War (1744 - 1748)
French and Indian War aka the Seven Years War (1754-1763)
1750 - The Ohio Company of Virginia claims the Ohio region for England
1751 - Christopher Gist explores the region along the Ohio River
1754 - 1763: The French Indian War is won by Great Britain against the French so ending the series of conflicts known as the
French and Indian Wars
1763 - Treaty of Paris 1764 - Indian War / Pontiac's Conspiracy aka Pontiac's Rebellion broke out in the Ohio River Valley.. The British treated the former
Indian allies of the French like conquered peoples, which prompted the Ottawa Chief Pontiac (1720-1769) to lead a rebellion of a number of tribes
against the British
1775 - Lord Dunmore's War in Southern Ohio. Governor Dunmore commanded a force to defeat the Shawnee, Virginia, Pennsylvania
and Ohio, down the Ohio River.
Early History of Native Americans in Ohio
The Indigenous People of Ohio
The names of the Ohio tribes included the Illinois
tribe (Illini), Iroquois, Chippewa, Delaware, Erie, Ottawa, and Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Miami, Huron (Wyandot) and Shawnee.
The hunting and gathering peoples who originally discovered the Americas were called Paleo-Indians. They lived in Ohio in the last centuries of
the Ice Age. They hunted now-extinct species of big game animals such as mammoth and mastodon. They also hunted deer and small game, fished, and gathered
nuts and fruit when available. The earliest Paleo-Indian culture discovered in Ohio is the Clovis culture which occupied the area from around 9500
- 8000 BC. They are known as the Clovis culture because of the distinctive shape of their spear points. The culture probably was centered in present-day
New Mexico and migrated eastward. In Ohio, they found important sources of flint for their weapons and tools.
As the weather warmed toward the end of the Ice Age, the formerly nomadic groups began to settle down and build more permanent structures and store
resources over the winter seasons. Their tools became more sophisticated, and they used axes to create dugout canoes. They also designed spear throwers
called "atl atl"to be able to hunt more effectively.
Around 800 BC, tribes began to cultivate crops, design pottery and settle into villages. Archaeologists refer to these tribes as "Woodland"cultures.
The people of these groups also built burial mounds to commemorate their dead. Two of these mounds in Ohio are called "Serpent Mound"and "Alligator
Mound"because of the way they are shaped. The earliest of these Woodland cultures are called the Adena people. After these people came a group called
the Hopewell people, and finally, a group called the late Woodland people. The late Woodland groups cultivated corn and sunflowers and used bows and
arrows for hunting.
Beginning around 1650 AD, the powerful Iroquois tribe drove out the other native tribes from Ohio. The Iroquois had already hunted most of the beaver
from areas in the East, and moved into Ohio in search of more furs to trade with Europeans. The Iroquois were in turn driven out by the Shawnee, Delaware,
Wyandot, and Miami tribes, which were probably the tribes present in the Ohio area when European settlers first arrived.
US History Overview
History is not static. It's fluid. It changes, grows, becomes richer, and more complex when any individual
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