Indiana Facts

Introduction

The state of Indiana is located in the Midwestern United States. It ranks 38th out of 50 United States by area and has the 17th largest population. By far, Indianapolis is the state’s largest city. November 11, 1816, was the date Indiana became the United States’ 19th state. 

It is bordered on the northwest by Lake Michigan, the north by Michigan, the east by Ohio, the south and southeast by the Ohio River and Kentucky, and the west by the Wabash River and Illinois.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT INDIANA

  • 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)

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, including the Illini, Miami, and Shawnee, lived on the land thousands of years later. 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 area. 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 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.

During the 1820s, the nickname Hoosier was first used to describe a person, but its origin still needs to be determined. 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 central regions in this state.

The Great Lakes Plains region covers the northern part of the state. A sand dunes ridge rises along Lake Michigan’s shore at Indiana Dunes State Park. Further south, the land becomes dark and fertile, with 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.

The Southern Plains and Lowlands region encompasses southern Indiana. 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 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.
  • A racetrack in the state capital has hosted the Indianapolis 500 almost every year since 1911.
  • Several people lived at Angel Mounds between the years 1000 and 1450. 
  • Earthen mounds were used as burial sites and ceremonial sites by ancient peoples. As a result, many artifacts have been discovered here, including pots.
  • Indiana is home to the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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