As America began to expand westward, the Northwest Territory, also known as the "Territory Northwest of the Ohio," was a governmental region established within the early United States.
The Northwest Ordinance, passed by the Congress of the Confederation on July 13, 1787, is widely considered to be one of the most significant achievements of that governmental body as it put world powers on notice (namely Britain and France) that this land would be settled, and eventually divided into individual states within the United States.
The vast territory included all of the land located generally west of Pennsylvania, northwest of the Ohio River, and east of the Mississippi River. It encompassed what would become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as the northeastern part of Minnesota.
In 1803, Ohio was the first state created from the vast lands of the Northwest Territory. It was followed by Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, all then a part of the Indiana Territory.