Cincinnati was founded in 1788 by Mathias Denman, Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow. The three bought 800 acres of land along Ohio River at the mouth of River Licking. They further divided their roles for the new project. Denman was to fund, Patterson to find settlers while Ludlow to survey the land to enable sales and establish a town. At first the city was named “Losantiville”. This name is made of four words from different languages. It means “The city opposite the mouth of Licking River”. “Ville” is French for city, “anti” is Greek for opposite, “os” is Latin for mouth and “L” is all that was involved with the Licking River.

Growth and Origin of the Name

After settlement, the town grew slowly with only three log cabins by the end of the first month. In August 1879, the growth was mushrooming and Josiah Harmar authorized construction of Fort Washington. It was to protect settlers in Symmes, Miami and northern Kentucky. The fort was built west of Lasantiville. Harmar then made the fort his headquarters and allocated three hundred soldiers as stipulated. This boosted the population of Losantiville to about 500. In 1790, Arthur St. Clair, governor of Northwest Territory established Hamilton county. He also disliked the name Lasantiville and changed it to Cincinnati. Named after a Roman citizen soldier, Cincinnatus. Later that year, about 250 new families arrived increasing the entire population to about 700.


Local American Indians caused conflicts forcing settlers to hire a sheriff. Soldiers also introduced martial law in efforts to curb lawlessness in the area. In 1791, St. Clair was defeated by Indians which made many settlers to flee in
fear of attack by the hosts. More settlers nonetheless came in to supply the needs of soldiers and travelers in Ohio River deeming it a fortune. In 1792, there were thirty warehouses already set up to meet the rising demand. Anthony Wayne in 1794 defeated Indians and more settlers came in. The stay however was characterized by slave trade which looked down upon human rights.

Economic, Social and Political Aspects

In the 19th century, Cincinnati continued to grow economically as opportunities emerged. Hotels, taverns and restaurants were set up. Meat packing, woodworking, iron and cloth production were among the businesses people carried out.

Cincinnati also grew socially especially with establishment of learning institutions like University of Cincinnati and the Medical college of Ohio. Other social amenities included Art Museum, Art Academy, Opera House, music hall and the Exposition building. In addition, more than 200 churches had bloomed with the population growth.

The political influence of the area had made a tremendous break-through. The city had provided Ohio with thirteen governors.

By 1890, Cincinnati had become the largest city in Ohio with a population of about 300,000. The city had already made an economic impact to USA by this time with a production of 200 million dollars’ worth in goods. In the 20th century, the city’s population had increased to around 365,000.

More Achievements

The city still boasts in its prestige to host headquarters of many corporations. In 2015, Cincinnati was still the cultural center of southern Indiana, southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky. It forms a home to numerous art galleries and learning centers.


The history of Cincinnati Ohio has mainly been made possible by the Ohio River. From 3 founding members to 365,000 people. Yet the city continues to blossom with each day that passes.