Lake Erie

From Ohio History Central

Lake Erie is one of the Great Lakes and currently serves as part of Ohio's northern boundary. During the 1700s and 1800s, Lake Erie provided a quick means of transportation for men engaged in the fur trade as well as settlers hoping to improve their fortunes in the Ohio Country. Its importance grew during the 1810s and the 1820s as Americans began to build canals. The completion of the Erie Canal, connecting the Hudson River in New York with Lake Erie, provided the first navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the upper Midwest. This allowed farmers in Ohio a relatively quick and inexpensive route to transport their products to market. Cleveland quickly grew and became one of the leading industrial centers of Ohio thanks to its location on Lake Erie.

During the War of 1812, both the English and the American armies and navies hoped to gain exclusive control over the lake. The side that controlled Lake Erie would have an easier time sending troops and supplies in an invasion of the other's territory. On September 10, 1813, at the Battle of Lake Erie an American fleet under the command of Oliver Hazard Perry defeated a British fleet, securing control of the lake for the United States. England's threat to the American Northwest was removed, due to Great Britain's inability to send men and supplies across the lake. Lake Erie also served as parts of boundaries in treaties between the United States and the Ohio Country's American Indian peoples during the late 1700s and the early 1800s. Among the most important of these agreements was the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795.

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