The Ohio Company was a land speculation company owned by Virginians, who wanted to create a trading settlement in Ohio, west of Virginia. The company was given a land grant by the British government in 1749 and received investments from Virginian colonists who were interested in the trading opportunities the company would provide, including trading with the Native Americans. The Company sent out surveyors to explore the country, amongst them the young George Washington. The Ohio Company was immediately in conflict with the French who had claimed the whole of the Ohio River valley in the previous century and were building forts to reinforce their claim. English settlers and fur traders had long contested these claims and, in order to protect themselves from military retaliation, the Company built several forts. Eventually, in 1754, there was a battle between the French and Americans on the Ohio River tributary, marking the beginning of the French and Indian War in 1754.
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