Indiana Facts



The state of Indiana is located in the Midwestern United States. By area, it ranks 38th out of 50 United States, and it has the 17th largest population. By far, Indianapolis is the state's largest city. November 11, 1816 was the date on which Indiana became the United States' 19th state. It is bordered on the northwest by Lake Michigan, the north by Michigan, on the east by Ohio, on the south and southeast by Ohio River and Kentucky, and on the west by Wabash River and Illinois.

  • Capital City: Indianapolis
  • Largest City: Indianapolis
  • Nickname: The Hoosier State
  • Statehood: 1816; 19th state
  • Population (as of 2020): 6,785,528
  • Abbreviation: IN
  • State bird: cardinal
  • State flower: peony
  • Total Size Of The State: 36,418 sq mi (94,321 km2)

  • Indiana

    Historical Background

    The area now known as Indiana was inhabited at least 10,000 years ago. Indiana was home to one of the most important archaeological sites in the United States about 2,000 years ago, when a mysterious culture called the Hopewell Tradition filled earthen mounds with tens of thousands of artifacts. Many Native American tribes lived on the land thousands of years later, including the Illini, Miami, and Shawnee. There are still Miami, Shawnee, and Potawatomi tribes in this area.

    In 1614, French explorer Samuel de Chaplain visited the area, one of the earliest Europeans to see the area. French control extended into the late 1600s. During the French and Indian War, which lasted from 1754-1763, the French and English fought for control of the region. English forces prevailed and gained control of the region. Indiana Territory was later named after these lands.

    The United States acquired Indiana from Britain at the end of the American Revolution, in 1783, and it became the 19th state in 1816. State soldiers fought for the Union during the Civil War (1861-1865).

    Why Does It Have That Name?

  • When Europeans arrived in the area, it was named after American Indian tribes that lived there.
  • During the 1820s, the nickname Hoosier was first used to describe a person, but its origin is not clear. There is a possibility that the term comes from an old English term for "hill" that was slang for people who lived in Indiana's hill country.

  • Geographic Features and Landforms

  • Michigan and Lake Michigan border the state of Indiana on its north, Ohio and Kentucky on its east, Kentucky on its south, and Illinois on its west. There are three main regions in this state.
  • The northern part of the state is covered by the Great Lakes Plains region. A ridge of sand dunes rises along the shore of Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes State Park. Further south, the land becomes dark, fertile, and has low hills and small lakes.
  • There are low hills and valleys in the Till Plains, which cover the center of the state. Corn is one of the top crops in the region, so the area has been dubbed the "Corn Belt" of the Midwest. Hoosier Hill is Indiana's highest point. The hill stands 1,257 feet above sea level.
  • Southern Indiana is part of the Southern Plains and Lowlands region. Its lowlands are characterized by steep hills called knobs. Caverns and limestone caves dot the landscape. On its southern border is the Ohio River.

  • The Natural World

    Indiana's most common mammals include Allegheny woodrats, bobcats, muskrats, and meadow jumping mice. Among the birds flying overhead are bald eagles, hairy woodpeckers, and eastern bluebirds. A few of Indiana's reptiles are ornate box turtles, colorful ringneck snakes, and little brown skinks. Amphibians found in the state include cave salamanders, American bullfrogs, and plains leopard frogs.

    Among Indiana's most widespread trees are the sycamore, eastern red cedar, white oak, and tulip poplar (the state tree). There are also violet-colored tall bellflowers, purple-flowering raspberries, scarlet royal catchflies, and blue mist flowers that grow here.

    Natural Resources

    State's richest natural resources include oil, gas, and coal. In addition, Indiana produces limestone, sand, and gravel.

    Some Fun Facts About Indiana

  • Indiana gave birth to popcorn salesman Orville Redenbacher, actor James Dean, and songwriter Cole Porter.
  • Almost every year since 1911, the Indianapolis 500 car race has been held at a racetrack in the state capital.
  • A number of people lived at Angel Mounds between the years 1000 and 1450. Ancient peoples used its 11 big earthen mounds for burials and ceremonial purposes. Pots and other artifacts have been found here.
  • Indiana is home to the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).