Why is Columbus the state capital of Ohio?

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The state capital of Ohio, Columbus, is somewhat unique in that it did not exist as a city until it was chosen as the site of the state capital in 1812. Prior to this, the state capital was located at Chillicothe and Zanesville. Columbus officially became the state capital in 1816 when construction was completed.

Why was Columbus chosen as the state capital of Ohio? Columbus was named after explorer Christopher Columbus.


Columbus’ location was ideal for a state capital due to its central location in the state. Ohio’s population was growing, and legislators wanted a government seat for the state that could accommodate a growing state. Additionally, the location was easily accessible by river, which was a primary mode of transportation in the early 1800s.

Before being chosen as the state capital of Ohio by the people who settled the area, the area now called Columbus was inhabited by the Adena, Hopewell, and Fort Ancient peoples along the Scioto River. It was named after Christopher Columbus, the Genoese colonizer who was particularly cruel and violent towards Native Americans. In 2020, townspeople filed a petition to change the town’s name, and there have been efforts to remove symbols and honors of Christopher Columbus from the town since the 1990s.

When and why was Chillicothe the capital of Ohio? The first state capital of Ohio was Chillicothe.

Chillicothe initially made a natural choice for the state capital of Ohio. Before Ohio became a state, it was part of the United States Northwest Territory, which included everything between Pennsylvania and the Mississippi River from east to west, and everything between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River from North to south. Chillicothe was a political center of the Northwest Territories and officially became the region’s capital in 1802. After Ohio became a state, it was the first capital from 1803 to 1810 and then again from 1812 to 1816 while that the official state capital, Columbus, was under construction.

Today, Chillicothe has a population of just over 22,000. It is the only town in an otherwise rural and sparsely populated area, so it is an important economic center for the region.

When and why was Zanesville the capital of Ohio? Zanesville’s most distinctive feature is the Y-shaped bridge that crosses the Licking and Muskingum rivers.

Many believe the move of Ohio’s state capital from Chillicothe to Zanesville was political. Chillicothe is further south in the state, the political party then called Democrats-Republicans wanted to gain more control over the eastern part of the state, where Zanesville is located. Thus, they moved the capital there from 1810 to 1812.

Today, Zanesville has a population of 24,765 people. Today it is known for its unique Y-shaped bridge that allows drivers to cross the Licking and Muskingum rivers.

Columbus, Ohio, Today Not only the capital of Ohio, Columbus is also the largest city in this region.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Today, Columbus is not only the capital of Ohio, but it is also the largest city in the state. It has a population of over 900,000 people. After Chicago, it is the 2nd largest city in the Midwest by population and the 3rd largest state capital by the same metric. The entire metropolitan area has more than 2 million inhabitants.

Some of the city’s nicknames help describe its character. It is known as:

The City of NeighborhoodsThe City of DiscoveryThe City of the BowThe Greatest Little City in AmericaCowtownCap City

Some residents also shorten the name to Cbus in colloquial speech.

The city has more than 150 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of them are historic buildings and areas of the city. Visitors to the city can enjoy a number of museums, concert and performance opportunities, professional sports teams, and over 350 parks in the city.



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