Indiana  is a state in the Midwest and Great Lakes region of the United States. The state is bordered by Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south, Illinois to the west, and Michigan to the north. It is the 38th-largest by area and the 17th-most populous of the 50 United States. It was the 19th U.S. state, admitted on 11 December, 1816.
Indiana is primarily rural, dotted with large urban centers in the center and northern parts of the state. Its landscape is mostly flat in the north, characterized by vast stretches of green farmland, with hills and woodlands beginning to pop up in the south. Indiana residents, who fondly refer to themselves as "Hoosiers," are very friendly and welcoming, with an abundance of hospitality to go around.
The first inhabitants of modern-day Indiana were nomadic Paleo-Indians, who arrived around 8000 BC. Throughout the next nine thousand years, Indiana would be part of the heartland of the Archaic and Woodland periods, and would be home to the Adena and Hopewell people. These people would introduce ceramics, pottery, burial rituals, agriculture, and trading networks to the area. Between 1000 AD to the arrival of the first Europeans in the 15th century, Indiana was inhabited by the Mississippian culture. The Mississippians built the first large urban settlements in Indiana, centered around large platform mounds where leaders lived or conducted rituals. One of these can be found at Angel Mounds State Historic Site, occupied between 1100 AD to 1450 AD.
By the early 17th century, Europeans began trading with Native Americans in Eastern North America. The Kingdom of England and the Dutch Republic primarily traded with the Iroquois, while the Kingdom of France primarily traded with the Algonquians and their allies. As different European and Native American nations began competing over trade and commerce, the Beaver Wars broke out between the Iroquois and Algonquians, supported by their respective European allies. From 1629-1701, the Beaver Wars consumed modern-day eastern Canada and United States.
It was during the Beaver Wars that the first Europeans crossed into Indiana. In 1679, French Explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle reached present-day South Bend at the St. Joseph River. He encountered Native American tribes of the Algonquian family. At that time, the tribes that inhabited Indiana included the Shawnee, Miami, and Illini. The following year, French-Canadian fur traders began trading blankets, jewelry, tools, whiskey, and weapons to trade for skins with the Native Americans. By the time the Beaver Wars ended, the Iroquois had effectively destroyed several large tribal confederacies, including the Mahicans, Huron, and northern Algonquians. From 1670 onward, the Iroquois Confederacy held supremacy over Indiana and the Ohio River Valley.
The first permanent French trading post was established at Vincennes in 1702, by Sieur Juchereau. Fort Miami was built in 1715 by Sieur de Vincennes near the site of present-day Fort Wayne. French forts began popping up throughout Indiana, bent on controlling trade routes on the Wabash and Mississippi Rivers, as well as Lake Erie. For the next few decades, English colonists began arriving from the East, directly contending with the French-Canadians for control of trade in the region. Fighting between the English and the French exploded in the region throughout the 1750s and 1760s with the breakout of the Seven Years' War, known as the French and Indian War in the American colonies. The Native American tribes of Indiana sided with the French-Canadians during the War, but were ultimately defeated by the British victory in 1763.
While the French surrendered all their lands in North America east of the Mississippi River to the British Crown, the tribes of Indiana took the opportunity to capture Fort Ouiatenon and Fort Miami during Pontiac's Rebellion. In exchange for betraying the French, the British crown designated all land west of the Appalachians for Native American use, calling it "Indian Territory" and excluding British colonists from the area.
A decade-and-a-half later, the American Revolutionary War began when the thirteen British colonies sought self-governance and independence from the British Crown. While the majority of the fighting took place in the colonies, Patriot officer George Rogers Clark brought the War to Indiana, capturing Vincennes and Fort Sackville in his 1779 campaign. His Indiana campaign greatly weakened the British stance in the West, cutting off British reinforcements and changing the course of the War. When the Treaty of Paris ended the War in 1783, the British Crown ceded all claims to the land south of the Great Lakes, including Native American lands.
The new United States began rapidly expanding West, designating the modern states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, as well as parts of Montana, as the Northwest Territory in 1787. American frontiersmen began occupying the territory, regularly coming to blows with the Native Americans that inhabited the area. After nearly 1,500 cases of murdered settlers came to the attention of the Federal Government, the newly formed First American Regiment and 1,133 militiamen from Kentucky and Pennsylvania were led into the territory by Brigadier General Josiah Harmar to make the area safe for American settlers. However, in a series of battles between 7-22 October 1790 around modern-day Fort Wayne, Harmar and the survivors of his army was defeated by the Western Confederacy of Miami, Shawnee, and Lenape. The battles are collectively known as "Harmar's Defeat."
The next year, Revolutionary War hero Arthur St. Clair led another campaign into the Northwest Territory against the Western Confederacy. The two sides met at the Wabash River just a few miles from where Josiah Harmar was defeated the year before. What followed quickly became a slaughter, as the Western Confederacy quickly surrounded and closed in on St. Clair's disordered units of regulars and militia. Of the 1,000 Soldiers that followed St. Clair into Indiana, only 24 escaped, a casualty rate of 97.4%. The battle became known as "St. Clair's Defeat," and is still remembered as the most decisive defeat in the history of the American military. The defeat was humiliating for the young United States, and convinced many that America needed a well-trained, disciplined standing Army.
Three years later in 1794, General Anthony Wayne returned with the newly-reformed U.S. Army, determined to meet the Western Confederacy one last time. The two sides met at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, where Anthony Wayne and his army finally avenged Harmar's and St. Clair's defeat. The Western Confederacy was broken, and the 1795 Treaty of Greenville began the long push of Native Americans out of Indiana by American settlers.
Five years later in 1800, Ohio was separated from the Northwest Territory, designating the remaining territory as the Indiana Territory - "the land of the Indians." President Thomas Jefferson appointed William Henry Harrison as the first Governor of the Indiana Territory, with Vincennes as his capital. For the next decade, Native Americans and Indiana settlers continued to compete with each other for space. This competition came to a head in 1810, when Shawnee tribal chief Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa formed a confederacy of Indiana's tribes to resist American settlement, centering their movement in Prophetstown. Tecumseh was supported by Great Britain, a fact that enraged Americans.
Tensions rose between Tecumseh's Confederacy and the United States, and in 1811 the U.S. Congress authorized William Henry Harrison to launch a preemptive expedition. Harrison gained an early victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe on 7 November 1811, effectively breaking Tecumseh's Confederacy and putting it constantly on the defensive for the rest of the War. Seven months later, the War of 1812 began between the United States and Great Britain. Great Britain stepped up its support of Tecumseh's wounded confederacy, resulting in Harrison leading a campaign against both Natives and the British.
Hundreds of American settlers continued to be killed by Natives, motivating Harrison to activate the Indiana Rangers, formerly an undisciplined militia force, as a professional asset to his Army, paying them a Soldier's salary and supplying them with legitimate military ranks. He authorized two companies to be raised in 1812, with four more companies following in 1813. The Indiana Rangers became instrumental in Harrison's campaign, augmenting his forces during battles by harassing enemy armies and implementing hit-and-run tactics aimed to confuse.
Over the next three years, Harrison dealt defeat after defeat to the British and Tecumseh's Confederacy. Tecumseh was killed in 1813 during the Battle of Thames, leading to a near-immediate end of Native armed resistance to United States control of the region. Tecumseh's Confederacy fell apart without his leadership, and the British were soon pushed out of the area. After Tecumseh's death, Harrison designated Corydon as Indiana's new capital. The War of 1812 ended in 1815, with William Henry Harrison becoming both a state and national hero, matched only by Winfield Scott and Andrew Jackson.
The next year, Indiana petitioned for statehood. President James Madison approved Indiana's admission on 11 December 1816 as the 19th state in the Union. Following its admission to the Union, European immigrants began settling Indiana, largely consisting of German, English, and Irish settlers. People who settled the northern half of Indiana were primarily from New York and New England, while the southern half was largely settled by people from Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1825, the capital of Indiana was changed to Indianapolis, where it remains today.
The new state government desired to transform Indiana into a developed state, initiating the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act in 1836. This Act commissioned the building of roads, canals, railroads, and public schools. However, the Act quickly bankrupted the state, despite increasing land and produce value by nearly four times. In 1851, a second Indiana constitution was adopted. By far the most important aspect of this new constitution was the expansion of suffrage to African-Americans, making it one of the few states to do so prior to the Civil War.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Indiana quickly became politically influential in the nation. It was the first western state to mobilize, providing 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery, and 13 regiments of cavalry to the Union. Soldiers from Indiana participated in all of the war's major engagements, contributing over 200,000 Soldiers to the Union Army. One of the most famous of these units was the 19th Indiana Infantry Regiment, one of the original regiments in the Army of the Potomac's Iron Brigade, and one of the most famous Union regiments of the War.
With the Union victory in 1865, Indiana emerged a powerful state in the Union. New industries began popping up, including limestone extraction, ironworks, and mining. In the 1880s, massive natural gas reserves were discovered in Northern Indiana, resulting in an economic boom. The cheap natural gas attracted heavy industry, and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs. Indiana's population skyrocketed, and the cities of South Bend, Gary, Hammond, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne rapidly expanded their population and industry. In the following decades, Indiana became instrumental to the production of steel and automobiles, with Gary directly rivaling Detroit at their heights. Haynes-Apperson, founded in Kokomo, became the nation's first commercially successful auto company. Indiana's part in expanding the U.S.'s automobile industry culminated with the construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With industrialization, Indiana became a leading state in the early development of labor unions and women suffrage movements. But a decade later, Indiana, like the rest of the nation, was hit hard by the Great Depression. In its struggle to help its overwhelmed citizens, Indiana's government was completely reorganized. Prohibition was ended, and the state's first income tax was enacted. Worker strikes were shut down with martial law at times, with the state government desperate to keep the factories open to avoid bankruptcy.
With the outbreak of World War II, however, Indiana's economy saw a boom. The War required steel, food, and other goods, all produced in Indiana. With America's entry into the War in 1941, 10% of Indiana's population joined the Armed Forces, with the remaining population worked in the hundreds of industries that operated within the state. In total, Indiana singlehandedly produced 4.5% of the U.S.'s total amount of military armaments throughout the War, ranking 8th among the 48 states.
The post-war years saw Indiana rebound to pre-Depression levels of production, with industries becoming the state's primary employer. Urbanization during the 1950s and 1960s led to further growth of the nation's cities, with Gary being dubbed "The City of the Century" when its population peaked at just under 200,000. Indiana continued to be a leader in social progressive movements, desegregating schools in 1949.
However, the 1973 oil crisis hit Indiana especially hard, hurting the state's oil and automotive industries. High unemployment rates began appearing in Indiana's cities as its many large industries were forced to downsize. Rapid industrial downsizing and closures created what the U.S. knows as the Rust Belt. The Indiana cities of Gary, Hammond, South Bend, Muncie, and Kokomo were hit especially hard, and have been in recovery since the 1980s.
Present-day Indiana is a mostly-agrarian state with large cities dominated by industry. Indiana's main export is corn, soybeans, steel, and pharmaceuticals. It has been the home of two U.S. Presidents: William Henry Harrison, and his grandson Benjamin Harrison. Its governor is currently Eric J. Holcomb. Its former governor, Mike Pence, is currently the Vice President of the United States.
Geography & Climate
Indiana is mostly rural, with high concentrations of its population in its major cities. It is a heavy agrarian state, with vast farmland covering most of its area. Due to the prehistoric glaciers that reached down as far as Indiana during the Ice Age, Northern Indiana is almost entirely flat. Highlands and hills become much more common south of Indianapolis.
The Northern half of the state's climate is humid continental, while the Southern half is humid subtropical. The climate of Northwest and Northern Indiana is heavily affected by Lake Michigan: the temperature is cooler during the summer and winter, and snowfall is heavier than most other parts of the state. However, the Lake Effect does protect the northern parts of Indiana from tornadoes and hyper-violent storms. However, tornadoes and large thunderstorms are uncommon, but not rare in the other regions.
Indiana weather is also infamous for being largely unpredictable. It is not uncommon to hear of snow one day, and the next day will be warm and sunny. While this may be irritating to some, Hoosiers are quite fond of this unpredictability, as you can see all sorts of beautiful weather in Indiana.
One of the best aspects of Indiana weather is that all four seasons are very distinctly experienced. Spring is rainy and green, Summer days tend to be between the eighties and nineties Fahrenheit, Autumn is chilly, and Winter is cold and snowy. Layered clothing is heavily suggested between the months of October and April, with first snowfall sometimes arriving as early as Halloween.
Even in the cities, Indiana is covered with life, plants, grass, and trees. As such, Spring, Summer, and Autumn are gorgeous months, with vivid colors and crisp, clean air. Winter is pretty barren, as is to be expected, but the blankets of snow that occasionally fall are some of the prettiest in the country.
Indianapolis International Airport  is Indiana's primary airport, connecting Indiana with dozens of major cities around the United States. Other major airports include Fort Wayne International Airport, Evansville Regional Airport, and South Bend International Airport.
Indiana also has seven interstate highways that cross through the state, four of which converge on Indianapolis. I-80, the U.S.'s transcontinental freeway, converges with I-90 across the Indiana-Michigan border to form the Indiana Toll Road in northern Indiana, running through Gary and South Bend. I-94 hugs Indiana's border with Lake Michigan, connecting Chicago and Detroit. I-65 is the major north-south route in Indiana, beginning in Gary and heading south through Indianapolis, and further south to Louisville, KY. I-70 is an east-west route linking St. Louis, MO, heading through Indianapolis, and continuing east to Columbus, OH. I-74 runs east from Champaign, IL, runs through Indianapolis, and continues on to Cincinnati, OH. I-64 runs across southern Indiana, connecting Evansville with St. Louis, MO and continuing on through Louisville, KY. I-69 runs northeast from Memphis, TN, through Evansville, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne, and continuing through to Detroit.
Indiana also has more than two-dozen old U.S. Highways and Routes, originally built during the 1920's and 1930's, which connect major Indiana cities with each other and other states.
Most Indiana cities have many attractions, consisting of museums, art, culture, and historical monuments. Due to the state's rich history with Native Americans, the American frontier, the U.S. military, the automobile industry, scientific advancements, and American traditional living, many of Indiana's attractions center around these topics.
Festivals and Events
Eat and Drink
Cuisine throughout much of the state is Mid-western in nature. Pork Tenderloins, Corn on the Cob, Blueberry Pie, and other American classics can be easily found.
Hoosier cuisine that can be found throughout the state includes:
Individual cities also have their own unique dishes, absolute must-haves if you are visiting.
The legal drinking and purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 21. Indiana is one of the 17 states that doesn't penalize a minor for consuming alcohol if he/she is discovered to have been drinking alcohol through his/her reporting a medical emergency for another under age drinker.
Hoosiers know how to drink! Wherever you are, you would be hard pressed to not find a bar. The trendiest part of the state for a drink is probably Broad Ripple in Indianapolis, but you will find streets packed with bars and pubs throughout the cities of the state, especially near major universities in Bloomington, West Lafayette, and South Bend. Note too, that drink prices can be very low in Indiana—especially out of the Nine-County Region. It's not uncommon to find domestic bottled beer for $1 during the week, with other varying specials.
Micro-breweries are present in all the major cities; Upland from Bloomington is especially popular and available throughout the state. Triton Brewing Company (Indianapolis) has a variety of beers that are worth trying. Most gas stations (even those in Indianapolis and other large cities) do not sell craft beer. If you want to take home a local beer you should go to a liquor store or a grocery store.
Carry out alcohol sales are prohibited on Sunday in Indiana, expect at microbreweries and wineries. Alcohol sales are allowed on Sunday at locations that also serve food, such as restaurants and bars. Sale of packaged cold alcohol is only permitted at liquor stores, other locations such as groceries or pharmacies can only sell alcohol at room temperature. Hard alcohol can only be purchased at liquor stores or pharmacies.
Bars and restaurants are allowed to serve beer, wine, and liquor seven days a week, between the hours of 7:00 am and 3:00 am (the following morning), local time. Hours for bars can vary by population density and owner preference, but the vast majority of full-service "chain" restaurants with alcohol sales will not remain open beyond 11 pm or midnight. In most localities however, one can always find a neighborhood bar or nightclub that will serve drinks right up to 3:00. In all substantial cities, almost all bars will remain open until this time.
Crime - Largely rural, Indiana has a fairly low crime rate per capita. In 2006 (the latest year for which data is available) it ranked 29th in crimes per 100,000 population. Large urban areas are exceptions like the former steel town Gary and the outlying Chicago area in the Northwest and certain segments of Indianapolis.
Weather - While outside of Tornado Alley, Indiana has a fairly high occurrence of tornados. You might want to check the Tornado safety page if you are visiting Indiana.
The vast majority of Indiana is on Eastern Time and -- as of 2006 -- does now observe Daylight Savings Time. The five counties of Northwestern Indiana (near Chicago) as well as several counties around Evansville are on Central Time.