From Ohio History Central
History began with written records. To understand the past, historians read documents left behind by earlier people. Of course, people existed before written records. According to scholars, these people are "prehistoric." "Prehistoric" simply means before written records.
History began at various times for the different people that make up the world's population, as not all people developed writing at the same time. The "Historic Period" began in what is today Ohio when French explorers and mapmakers began to make the first vague reports regarding the lands lying south of Lake Erie, the southernmost of the Great Lakes. Nicholas Sanson's map of 1650 shows unnamed rivers flowing southward from the yet unnamed lake. The Sanson map is the earliest known historic record of northern Ohio, although geographic knowledge of the region was more approximate than accurate.
The subjects of the entries in this section all occurred after the development of written records in what is now Ohio. Because of this, the entries include events after approximately 1650. Among the entry topics are American Indians, white settlers, Ohio statehood, the American Civil War, the World Wars, and numerous other topics. Browse these entries at your leisure, or if you desire to read about entries on a specific topic or time period, please consult the "Topics" and "Time Period" sections.