From Ohio History Central
The Ohio River is formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at modern-day Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It ends approximately 900 miles downstream at Cairo, Illinois, where it flows into the Mississippi River. It received its English name from the Iroquois word, "O-Y-O," meaning "the great river". One of the first Europeans to see the Ohio River was Frenchman Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1669. He named the river "la belle riviere" or "the beautiful river."
During the 1600s and 1700s, the Ohio River served as the southern border of what later came to be called the Northwest Territory. In several treaties, the river also served as a dividing line between English settlements in Kentucky and Native American communities in the Ohio Country. The English generally remained south of the river, while the Indians continued to live and hunt north of it until the end of the American Revolution. As settlers pushed west across the Appalachian Mountains, many of these people used the Ohio River to transport their families and belongings westward. Several of the first permanent settlements by people from the newly formed United States were founded on the river's banks. These places included the towns of Marietta, Steubenville and Cincinnati.
[[Category:Exploration To Statehood]]