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Settlers streamed into fertile Ohio following the Revolutionary War. The state’s northern part had Lake Erie, the south had the Ohio River, and there were abundant resources in between. By 1850, Ohio was the third most populous state in the nation. Industry grew (steel in the north, pork-processing in the south) and some families got rich (­Rockefeller in the north, Messrs Procter and Gamble in the south). North and south still define the state today: the north is typically more liberal and pro-union, while the south is more conservative.

Seven US presidents were born in Ohio, leading to the state’s sometimes-heard moniker, ‘Mother of Presidents.’

Speaking of the nation’s big cheese: this little ol’ cow-dotted state decided the country’s fate in 2004. That’s when the Republicans and Democrats were tied in the presidential election. Everything had been counted except for one state’s votes – Ohio’s. So you can thank Ohio for Georgie Jr’s second term. And it could easily play the tie-breaking role again in 2008 and beyond.