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Northwest Territory

 Related Terms

• Northwest Ordinance
Land Ordinance of 1785
National Road
Lancaster Turnpike
War of 1812


Definition: Large area of land created by the Continental Congress in the Northwest Ordinance of July 13, 1787. The region was later called the Old Northwest. American settlers poured into the Northwest Territory, which was eventually divided into the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Based on standards set forth in the Land Ordinance of 1785, settlers could buy land in mile-square blocks. They did so in large numbers. Slavery was prohibited. Several British forts nearby led to tensions that eventually broke out into the War of 1812. The American victory in that war ended British claims to any lands in the Northwest Territory.

Related Resources:
The New Nation
Find out more about the period between the signing of the Constitution and the year 1800.

Exploration and Settlement of the United States
Maps and more!

Elsewhere on the Web:
The Northwest Territory
Learn all about this famous destination for American settlers.

Ordinance of the Northwest Territory
The text of the law that gave life to the Northwest Territory.

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