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The first structures near the site of downtown Columbus were earthen mounds constructed by Indian tribes known as Mound Builders. Native Americans lived undisturbed in Central Ohio until the 1700s, when the first white explorers entered the Midwest. The first permanent white settlement in the area was founded by a surveyor from Kentucky, Lucas Sullivant, in 1797 and was named Franklinton. The state capital was laid out nearby in 1812 and named after Christopher Columbus. It became the capital in 1816. Columbus was chartered as a city in 1834 and annexed Franklinton in 1870. The city's growth was stimulated by the development of transportation facilities—a feeder to the Ohio Canal completed in 1832, the National Road in 1833, and the arrival of the railroad in 1850.
Columbus is a port of entry and a major commercial, distribution, and cultural center. It is the seat of Ohio State University (1870). The city has enjoyed steady growth over the years due to its economic diversity, and no single activity dominates the economy.
See also Encyclopedia: Columbus.
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