Indiana, abbreviated IN and Ind., Is a state in the United States, between Lake Michigan in the north and the Ohio River in the south. The state borders north to Michigan, east to Ohio, south to Kentucky, and west to Illinois. Indiana has a total area of 94,328 km2 and has 6,666,818 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Indianapolis.
Indiana is also known as The Hoosier State, explained as derived from Who’s yere?, ‘Who are you?’, A previously common way of greeting strangers (the interpretation is uncertain).
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Geography and climate
The majority of Indiana is a wavy plain, which slopes evenly to the southwest. Large sand dunes border the shores of Lake Michigan. In the north there are a large number of small lakes. Along the Ohio River there are some low mountains and steep cliffs. Here is the state’s highest point, 392 meters above sea level. The bedrock consists of flat layers, to the south of limestone with many caves. The Wabash River flows through Indiana and forms the western boundary of Illinois before it flows into Ohio, marking Indiana’s southern boundary. Other important rivers are the White River and the Blue River. The climate is continental, but without extreme temperatures.
Population growth in 1980–1990 was only one per cent, which was far lower than the national average (about 10 per cent). Like several neighboring states, Indiana has had a significant relocation surplus. After 1990, the population has increased more strongly and in the period 1990–2000 the population grew by 9.7 per cent (against the national average of 5.6 per cent).
Of the population, 79.2 per cent are considered white, most of them British, Irish and German descent; 9.7 percent blacks and 7 percent Hispanics (US Census, 2017). In the industrial city of Gary, about 70 percent are black, in East Chicago 30 percent and Indianapolis 20 percent. Ethnic groups from southern and eastern Europe can be found especially in the industrial cities in the north, for example in South Bend. More than 2 / 3 of Indiana’s population who are in a denomination are Protestants, far above the national average. Politically, the state is dominated by Republicans.
The largest cities are the capital Indianapolis with 863 002 residents, Fort Wayne with 265 904 residents, Evansville with 118 930 residents and Gary with 76 008 residents (US Census, 2017).
Indiana elects two senators and nine representatives for the Washington DC federal congress. The State Senate has 50 members, the House of Representatives 100 members.
Agriculture employs only about three per cent of the working population, but the value of agricultural production is very high, and agriculture occupies about 3/4 of the total area. The most important agricultural product is maize, which is largely used in pig farming. Furthermore, soybeans, wheat, oats, fruits and vegetables are grown. In the south, some tobacco is grown.
Indiana is the United States’ largest producer of building blocks (limestone), which is mined around Bedford and Bloomington in the southern state. Some coal and petroleum are also extracted. The northwestern part of the state is heavily industrialized. In and around the cities of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond, which are all part of the Chicago region, is one of the world’s largest concentrations of heavy industry with huge steel mills, cement mills and oil refineries. Other important industrial products are electrical and electronic appliances and machinery, car parts, aircraft and other transport equipment, agricultural machinery, chemicals and foodstuffs.
Transportation is highly developed, and Indianapolis is an important hub for road transport. On the Ohio River, there is significant river transport, while the Port of Indiana on Lake Michigan provides connection to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
When the first French fur hunters arrived in the area in the 17th century, it was inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Algonquin Miami Association. After 1700, the French built several forts to protect the route to Mississippi, the first at Lafayette in 1717. Between 1731 and 1732, the French built a trading station at Fort Vincennes, one of the first permanent white settlements west of the Appalachians.
France surrendered the territory to Britain in 1763, and during the War of Independence the British were subjected to US troops under the command of General George Rogers Clark. At the Paris Peace of 1783, where the United Kingdom recognized the independence of the United States, the country came under the United States. In 1787, part of the Northwest Territory, in 1800, was organized as the Indiana Territory, which also included Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Minnesota.
Indiana became a member of the Union as the 19th state in 1816. Through a series of wars, the indigenous population was displaced, including at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, where General and later President William Henry Harrison defeated the indigenous people under Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. The area was then opened to settlers. The population then rose rapidly, from 25,000 in 1810 to 685,000 in 1840, 1,680,000 in 1870 and 2,515,000 in 1900.