Ohios first exploration by a European was by a Frenchman, Rene Robert Cavelier,
Sieur de La Salle. He investigated the Great Lakes area in 1669-70, claiming all of Ohio
for the country of France.
Beginning in 1682, all of Ohio was considered to be a French possession, however, the
British colony of Virginia also claimed it to be part of their land holdings. The Ohio
territory, among others, would be in dispute for nearly a century (1689-1763) between the
French and English as they engaged in a series of colonial campaigns in North America.
It was not until around 1730 that traders from Virginia and Pennsylvania began to
encroach into Ohio. This caused Great Britains George II to award a land grant in
1749 to the Ohio Company to settle and trade in Ohio. This new influx of English traders
and would-be settlers eventually precipitated the French and Indian War (1754-1763) between the English/their Indian
allies and the French/their Indian allies.
France and Great Britain, along with other countries, were involved in the Seven
Years War in Europe (1756-1763). This concluded with the Treaty of Paris after
France lost the Seven Years War, giving England undisputed right to territory that
included Ohio. With this treaty, all land north of the Ohio River became English soil.
In 1774, Great Britain made this territory, including Ohio, part of Canada (attaching
it to Quebec), annoying the American Colonies and adding another reason for those who
sought separation from the mother country. Following the Revolutionary War, Great Britain, in September
1783, formally relinquished its right to control the area to the United States.
is First English Settlement
Many historians believe that the first English
settlement in this area was in what is now northern Miami County. Established in
1747-1748, it was called Pickawillany, located
at the point where the Loramie Creek runs into the Miami River. At its peak, Pickawillany
was home to 400 Indian families and up to 50 whites.
As land claim and trading right conflicts continued to escalate between France and
England, confrontations began to occur throughout the disputed territory. It is believed
that Pickawillany was one of the first battles of what would become the French and Indian
War; a battle precipitated by the Miami Valley Indians request for help against the French
and the positive response of the English. After the battle of Pickawillany in 1752, little
war action occurred in Shelby County and the Indians continued to use this area for
hunting grounds. The few white men that entered the region during the next twenty years
were trappers and traders.
segment written in November, 1997 by David
[ Back to Immigration Index ]