Archaeological finds show human presence in Indiana for over 3,000 years. The Indian tribes that inhabited this region, when the first Europeans arrived in the 17th century, were the Miami, Potawatomi, Wea and Kickapoo Indians. Frenchmen Jacques Marquette and La Salle were the first to explore the territory since 1670. The first settlements in the current state of Indiana were leather trader camps near Fort Wayne and Lafayette, built in 1720.
In 1763, France ceded the territory to Great Britain. During the American Revolution, in 1777, British troops captured Fort Sackville, near Vincennes, near the Wabash River, a strategic point that ensured control of the northwest region. In 1779, George Rogers Clark’s ‘long knives’, a group of Virginians, took over Fort Sackville. In 1784 the men of this group founded Clarksville, near the Ohio River. In 1787, once the independence of the United States was consolidated, Indiana remained integrated into the northwestern territory.
In Indiana, settlers had great difficulty building their settlements until General Anthony Wayne defeated local tribes in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. In 1800, Congress decided to admit Ohio as a state of the Union, and the rest of the Northwestern territory was officially called Indiana, or ‘Indian territory’. This region included, in addition to this state, the present states of Illinois and Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan and Minnesota. With the administrative reorganization of 1809, the territory of Indiana coincided with the current state.
Between 1810 and 1812, the Indian tribes of southern Indiana helped the British in the war against the American colonists. The problems of these tribes began when the first governor of the territory, William Henry Harrison, tried to buy most of the land they occupied from the Indians. Although the Indians were defeated in 1811, in the battle of Tippecanoe, they continued to fight until 1813, when the Indian chief Tecumseh, leader since the beginning of the conflict, died in the battle of Thames. In 1816, Indiana joined the United States as a non-slave state. Settlers from the south and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New England, settled in Indiana, among them, the family of Abraham Lincoln, originally from Kentucky. The movement of the last Indian tribes to the north to allow the colonization of the territory ended in 1846. At a later stage, migrants arrived mainly from Ireland and Germany. Being a non-slave state, many people of color arrived in Indiana, who managed to escape from the slavery of the southern states.
During the Civil War (1861-1865) about 200,000 inhabitants fought in defense of the Union. There were no battles in Indiana territory, although John Hunt Morgan’s Confederates occupied the town of Corydon in 1863, on their advance towards Ohio.
After the war, Indiana developed industrially, especially in sectors related to the manufacture of machinery and the canning industry. Among the companies that emerged in this early phase of its industrial development were the Studebaker brothers’ factory, founded in 1852, which produced railway carriages, and the Van Camp canning company. However, it was the discovery of natural gas fields in 1886 that encouraged many companies to move to Indiana, including numerous glass factories. In Whiting, on the edge of Lake Michigan, Standard Oil built one of the largest refineries in the world in 1889. Car manufacturing has been one of the leading activities of the Indiana since Elwood Haynes in 1894 invented a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. The proliferation of car factories during the early 20th century explains why one of the most popular car races of our day was inaugurated in 1908: the Indianapolis 500. The metallurgical industries have been one of the pillars of the state economy since the early twentieth century, especially since in 1906 the United States Steel Corporation inaugurated a blast furnace in Gary.
The severe economic crisis of the 1930s obliged the diversification of the Indiana industry. The explosion of the Second World War ended that crisis, as it activated all sectors, both industrial and agricultural and mining. The opening of the canal, which allowed ships from the Atlantic Ocean to sail across the St. Lawrence River in 1970, has been a crucial factor in the state’s economic growth over the past few decades.
- See ejiaxing.org for Indiana state facts, including geography, climate, flora and fauna as well as major cities.
Indiana places to visit
The north-south crossing of the state is a source of surprise in a state that statistics present as one of the most industrial in the Union. In fact, the only truly industrial region is the north-west corner, sometimes referred to as ‘Calumet’, while the region as a whole is not lacking in natural attractions.
For those who love water, Indiana has inexhaustible resources. In the north, hundreds of lakes attract fishermen and water sports enthusiasts. At its core, the Indianapolis region is lined with countless waterways crisscrossed by picturesque covered bridges. To the south, a thousand streams meander through the wooded hills and give Indiana a backdrop of serenity. The gigantic caves of Wyandotte and Marengo alone justify a visit to the region. If the capital Indianapolis, has about 850,000 inhabitants, most of the other cities look like large villages, which have a deep love for simple things, an attachment to traditions linked to the land. The traditionalist trend of Indiana is also manifested in the numerous reconstructions of the past, like the pioneer village of Conner Prairie, in Noblesville and the village of Nashville, in Brown County, in a green setting, its galleries of paintings and its exhibits of pottery stand next to old-fashioned shops. It is truly in the Middle West that the American Way of Life must be discovered.
- See itypemba.com to learn specific information about Indianapolis Indiana.
BLOOMINGTON – Lively and adorable, 53 miles south of Indianapolis is the home of Indiana University. The city focuses on Courthouse Square, surrounded by restaurants, bars and bookstores.
OHIO RIVER VALLEY – From the Indiana border with Kentucky, Routes 56 and 156 follow the Ohio River through the towns of Rising Sun, Patriot, Florence and Vevey. These two roads are the best for visiting the river valley and the hilly area in the south of the state. The River Port of Madison is located 145km southeast of Indianapolis in one of the best preserved cities in the area. Among the buildings in the city, the Lanier Mansion, built in 1844 in the Greek revival style and the Shrewsbury-Windle House, built in 1849. In the center is the restored office of the frontier doctor William D. Hutchings.
NEW HARMONY- The tree-lined town is a State Historic Site, with its 25 well-preserved buildings dating back to the Harmonist era, an inn and many well-kept gardens. These include the Labyrinth, formed by hedges in concentric circles arranged around a stone temple.
INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL PARK – One of the most diverse ecosystems in the United States is found in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Just a thirty-minute drive from downtown Chicago, this nature reserve occupies 25 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan. It offers natural environments such as, connected by scenic roads and a network of trails for hikers and cyclists.
Tourist and Cultural Places – Among the many cultural institutions of Indiana, the main ones are: the Indiana State Museum, the Children’s Museum, Herron Museum of Art, the Civic Theater and the Indiana State Library, all of these are in Indianapolis, the Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame, and the village that recreates the settlement of the plains pioneers in Noblesville.
The most important art institutions in Indiana are the Fort Wayne Ballet, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Ballet Theater, the Indianapolis Opera, the Indiana Repertory Theater, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. There are also other symphony orchestras in other cities,
State parks, especially Brown County, Indiana Dunes, McCormick’s Creek, and Spring Hill, are some of Indiana’s top tourist attractions; there are also sites of historical interest that pay homage to the pioneers of the state, or that commemorate places and personalities linked to the era of the US civil war.
Curiosity– The most popular sports in Indiana are basketball, American football and motor racing. Basketball stands out for the quality of its college teams (Notre Dame and Purdue) and the professional team, Indiana Pacers. Every year the ‘Hoosier Hysteria’ takes place, a tournament where the basketball teams of the state schools compete against each other. In American football, the Indiana Colts compete in the professional league. The 500 Miglia has been held in Indianápolis since 1911, one of the oldest car trials.