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History of Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is the capital of Ohio and the state's largest individual city. The Columbus Metropolitan Area ranks third, behind Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus lies on the Scioto River, where it is joined by the Olentangy. The first settlement was erected in 1797, on the west side of the Scioto, by Lucas Sullivant and others who named their community Franklinton. Until 1816, the state capital was at Chillicothe in the state's southern part, but it was believed that a more central location was needed for the capital. Four Franklinton businessmen offered to donate land on the east side of the river, provided it was used for a new state capital. The offer was accepted, and Columbus became the capital in 1816. In 1834, Columbus received a city charter and in 1871, it annexed Franklinton. During the Civil War, Columbus was the site of Fort Chase, a prison for Confederate soldiers. At first, the situation was quite relaxed and Confederate officers, after giving their word of honor, were allowed to wander through the city. As the war continued, conditions changed, generally for the worse. By the time the Confederacy surrendered in 1865, about 10,000 men were confined at Fort Chase. More than 2,000 died while there. In 1913, the Scioto River flooded the valley, killed more than 100 people, and caused an estimated $9 million in property damage. The citizens responded by instituting a program of flood control. Founded in 1871 on the northern outskirts of Columbus, the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College was Ohio's land-grant college, and thus received the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. In 1878, the college expanded its offerings and changed its name to Ohio State University. Its campus is now located within the city limits of Columbus and is currently the largest public university in the United States.