King George II of England grants the Ohio Company a charter of several hundred thousand acres of land around the forks of the Ohio River, thereby promoting westward settlement by American colonists from Virginia. France had claimed the entire Ohio River Valley in the previous century, but English fur traders and settlers contested these claims. The royal chartering of the Ohio Company, an organization founded primarily by Virginian planters in 1747, directly challenged the French claim to Ohio and was a direct cause of the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754.
With the defeat of the French in 1763, the Ohio River and the Great Lakes areas were placed within the boundaries of Canada, and the Ohio Company was merged with another land company to better exploit the region. Settlers in Ohio resented these acts and joined the patriots in their struggle against the British in the American Revolution. In 1783, Ohio was ceded to the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. In 1788, Marietta became the first permanent American settlement in what was known as the Old Northwest. During the next decade, Native Americans were suppressed and British traders were pushed out, and in 1799 Ohio became a U.S. territory. In 1803, it entered the Union as the 17th state.