The area now known as Toledo was first inhabited by many groups of indigenous people. The area was controlled by the Wyandot tribe and the Council of Three Fires. The first European in the area with Etienne Brule, who arrived in what is now Toledo in 1615. Later in the 1600s, the French established trading posts, and the fur trade thrived. However, Europeans did not settle the area until at least 1795.
Following the Northwest Indian War and the defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Indian tribes ceded parts of Ohio – including what is now Toledo – to the United States. European settlers continued to come to the area; however, the War of 1812 drove many people away. A few years later, resettlement began again. In the 1820s, the Miami and Erie Canal was authorized for construction, later followed by the Wabash and Erie Canal extension. Towns wanted to be the ending terminus of the canal, and it was in 1833 that Port Lawrence and Vistula merged to become more competitive. The resulting region was called Toledo.
The newly-established Toledo was not chosen to be the location of the final terminus but was the location of a sidecut before the terminus. Toledo’s expansion was slow during its first 20 years of settlement. However, the city’s population did continue to grow, and by the 1880s, its borders expanded.
As railroads began to replace canals, Toledo became a transportation hub and attracted other industries including furniture makers, breweries and glass manufacturers. The city’s population started growing even more with an influx of immigrants that were coming to the city to take on factory jobs. By the end of the 1800s, Toledo was thriving and was one of the largest cities in the state.
The population continued to grow throughout the 20th century, although it did face some setbacks during the Great Depression. However, WPA projects were designed to reemploy residents following the Great Depression and resulted in the expansion of the Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Zoo.
, and a depressed economy as industrial restructuring caused a slump in the manufacturing industry. By the 1980s, the city’s economy was again depressed. However, the 21st century brought about many redevelopment projects to draw in more residents. This includes Fifth Third Field and Huntington Center. While the city is working to improve, it still faces problems such as high crime rates.