Spanning the border region between the East and the Midwest, Ohio's landscape ranges from the mountainous regions of the southwest to flat agricultural regions in the northeast. The Ohio River forms the southern border with West Virginia and Kentucky, and the shores Lake Erie, historically important to Northern Ohio's industry, form much of the northern border. Originally home to various Native Indian tribes, Ohio passed from the hands of the French to the British after the French and Indian War. The region of Ohio was known as 'Ohio Country' in the Northwest Territory, established in 1787. Ohio's population then grew rapidly and on March 1st, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson recognized Ohio as the 17th state admitted to the Union. Shortly afterward, Ohio developed rapidly, especially in terms of industry, as Cleveland emerged as a major industrial and manufacturing base. 6 U.S. Presidents are from Ohio, more than any state except Virginia.
Led by booming industrial centers, Ohio saw steady growth in population throughout the 20th century, and is now the 7th largest state in population. Ohio is a major producer of machinery, tires and rubber products, tools and fabricated metal products. Agriculture also plays an important role in the economy, with corn, soybeans and dairy products leading the way in terms of output. Though Ohio is 7th in gross state product, its GSP per capita is 30th, due largely to wide disparities in wealth. Nearly a quarter of the population claimed German heritage in the 2000 Census. The state also has large African American populations in urban areas, and the largest percentage of Hungarian-Americans in the U.S. Racial tensions are pronounced in urban areas of Ohio, in particular Cincinnati, where race riots erupted in April 2001. Columbus, in the center of the state, is the capital and largest city (though Cleveland has the largest metropolitan area). Other major cities include Toledo, Akron, Dayton and Youngstown. Ohio is very much a swing state and the focal point of the 2004 election. The urban areas tend to vote Democratic, whereas the more rural and suburban areas tend to the Right. The state's 20 electoral votes (a significant number for a swing state) were won by both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton twice.