Smallest state of Midwestern USA, bordered to the north by Michigan, to the east by Ohio, to the south and southeast by Kentucky, and to the west by Illinois; area 92,895 sq km/35,867 sq mi; population (2010) 6,483,802; capital Indianapolis. It is situated in the Central Lowlands of the USA, with lakes and low hills in the north and wide expanses of fertile agricultural land in the centre. In the northwest, Indiana has a 72 km-/45 mi-long shoreline on Lake Michigan, and there are steep hills and limestone caverns in the south. Mining and manufacturing, especially coal and steel production, make significant contributions to the economy of the region, and car manufacture is a particularly important industry. Indiana's agricultural output includes corn (particularly popcorn), soybeans, apples, and hogs. The principal cities are Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Hammond, Bloomington, and Gary. Rapid industrial development after the American Civil War led to Indiana becoming one of the leading industrial states at the beginning of the 20th century, a position helped by the state's early association with car and machinery manufacture. Indiana was admitted to the Union in 1816 as the 19th US state.
Physical Indiana is divided into three main land regions: the Great Lakes Plains, the Till Plains, and the Southern Hills and Lowlands. The entire state lies within the vast Central Lowlands of the USA, descending gradually toward the west and rising to only 383 m/1,257 ft in the east, near Fountain City.
In the north the glaciated Great Lakes Plains feature many small lakes and low hills (moraines). There are sand dunes on the Lake Michigan lakeshore, known as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. There are also belts of fertile farmland, particularly south of the Dunes. To the south of the Wabash River, approximately two-thirds of the state are rolling plains and fertile agricultural land. The eastern woodlands give way to the prairies of central USA.
The central Till Plains of Indiana are rich grazing and cereal-growing lands. The unglaciated Southern Hills and Lowlands have steep hills known as knobs and feature large limestone caverns, the most famous examples being Marengo and Wyandotte Caverns. The southwestern part of this region is an important mining and coal-producing area.
The Ohio River, at 98 m/320 ft, is Indiana's lowest point. The state's major rivers generally flow northeast–southwest, towards the Mississippi Valley, and include the Kankakee, the Wabash, the Tippecanoe, and the White. In northeastern Indiana, Lake Wawasee is the largest natural lake in the state, covering 12 sq km/4.6 sq mi.
Indiana is humid, with generally cool winters and warm summers. Of all areas of the state, southern Indiana has the most rainfall and the hottest summers.
Indiana is approximately one-sixth forested. Common trees include the black walnut, hickory, and many kinds of maple and oak. Ash, beech, black willow, elm, sycamore, and tamarack are also found. Many different kinds of wild flowers and plants grow in Indiana, ranging from wild peppermint and orchids to asters, ox-eye daisies, and the peony (the state flower).
Indiana's birds include woodland jays and wood thrush, the cardinal (the state bird), prairie birds such as larks, and a number of different kinds of game birds including quail, wild turkey, and pheasants. Mammals commonly found in the state include muskrats, opossums, raccoons, skunks, and woodchucks, as well as deer. Indiana's many lakes and streams support bass, catfish, pickerel, pike, salmon, and sunfish.
Features Angel Mounds, in Evansville, is one of the best preserved American Indian sites in North America, and was inhabited by Mississippian Indians from 1100 to 1450. Vincennes is the oldest community in the state and is the site of Grouseland (1803–04), the home of Indiana's first governor and US president William Henry Harrison.
Vincennes is also home to the George Rogers Clark national memorial, commemorating Clark's capture of Fort Sackville in 1779, the largest land conquest of the American Revolution. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City marks where Abraham Lincoln spent much of his childhood. Colonel William Jones State Historic Site in Gentryville dates from the 1800s and was home to William Jones, a merchant, politician, and Civil War colonel.
Other heritage preservation sites in Indiana include Amish Acres in Nappanee, and historic Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne. The Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement (1974) in Noblesville documents pioneer life. New Harmony in southwestern Indiana is where Robert Owen's radical Utopian community of 1825 was based.
The Working Men's Institute (1838), Indiana's oldest continuously open public lending library, is also located in New Harmony and features a gallery, museum, and archives. Levi Coffin House State Historic Site (1839) in Fountain City marks a stop on the Underground Railroad, a system operating in the 1800s by which sympathetic Northerners helped escaped slaves from the South reach places of safety. Whitewater Canal in Metamora is a living history gristmill.
The Lanier Mansion (1844) in Madison was the home of millionaire J F D Lanier, who supported Indiana's Civil War regiments. Culbertson Mansion (1867) in New Albany is a 25-room Victorian mansion, and is decorated to reflect a wealthy Victorian-era lifestyle. One of Indiana's oldest public libraries, the Gothic Willard Library (1885) in Evansville, is well known for its genealogy resources. The Ben Hur Museum in Crawfordsville houses author Lew Wallace's lifetime memorabilia.
Indiana is well known for its woods, many lakes, old American Indian trails, and striking dunes on Lake Michigan. Wyandotte Cave, near Leavenworth, is one of the largest caverns in the USA, with 56 km/35 mi of underground passages. Indiana has a large number of covered bridges; in Parke County there are over 30 examples.
Indianapolis is the home of the Indianapolis Raceway, where the Indianapolis 500 car race is held, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum (1976). The Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis documents the history of the state. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (1925) is the largest children's museum in the world. Trump's Texaco Museum, east of Indianapolis on the Old National Road, features early industrial paraphernalia dating from the 1920s. The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend features exhibits on the history of the car industry.
Indiana University (1820) is situated in Bloomington and has a famous school of music. The University of Notre Dame (1842) at South Bend is the leading Roman Catholic university in the USA and houses the Snite Museum of Art (1980). Purdue University (1869), based in West Lafayette, has five campuses, as well as technology centres throughout the state.
Culture The people of Indiana are mainly of German, Irish, English, French, Dutch, or Polish descent. The state has a blue-collar industrial character to the north and a rural farming culture to the south, which is heavily influenced by the Deep South and is generally conservative in outlook.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (1883) has a wide range of collections, featuring US, African, pre-Columbian, South Pacific, and textile arts. Also in Indianapolis is the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art (1989). Indianapolis is home to Indiana's Repertory Theatre (1972), the Indianapolis Art Center (1996), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (1930), and a Philharmonic Orchestra (1941).
The Swope Art Museum (1942) in Terre Haute features 19th- and 20th-century US art, housed in an Italian-Renaissance-style building. The Carnegie Center for the Arts and History in New Albany is home to the Yenawine Dioramas, a folk art depiction of early Indiana life, along with a contemporary art gallery and local history museum.
The Archives of African-American Music and Culture (1991), a collection of materials covering various musical styles and idioms from World War II to the present day, is held at Indiana University. The African/African-American Historical Museum (1998) in Fort Wayne exhibits resources on black history. The Booker T Washington Center in Rushville, built in commemoration of this educator and advocate of black American rights, is a National Historic Register Site and International Community Program Center.
Indiana has a strong crafts tradition, reflected in many crafts fairs and rural community festivals, notably the numerous maple-syrup-making festivals in the spring and summertime hoedowns, the Elwood Glass Festival, and patriotic freedom festivals in Evansville, Fisher, and Linton. Heritage festivals include The Spirit of Vincennes, which celebrates the capture of Fort Sackville by George Rogers Clark, with battle re-enactments, and various Civil War commemorative days in Rockville. Polish and Swiss festivals, and Gaelic-, Scottish-, and English-themed events, take place throughout the state.
A major Amish Country Market takes place every August in Noblesville and an Amish Country Harvest Festival is held annually in Middlebury. An annual International Culture Festival, celebrating ethnic diversity in the Calumet Region, is held in Hammond. The American Indian annual Potawatomi Festival takes place in Attica. The Moscow Covered Bridge Festival takes place in June; the Billie Creek Covered Bridge Festival, the Mansfield Covered Bridge Festival, the Steam Corner Village Covered Bridge Festival, and Parke County Covered Bridge Festival all take place in October. There are canal days during the summer in Newhaven and Wabash, and numerous lakes festivals.
The 500 Festival in Indianapolis features the nation's largest half-marathon, which starts at Monument Circle, then circles the famed oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and finishes in the town centre. A major Three Rivers Festival in Fort Wayne comprises a ten-day celebration of the Fort Wayne community, including an arts fair and a parade.
Music festivals include a Bluegrass Music Festival in Bean Blossom, Cool Creek Jazz Festival in Carmel, one of only two international harp competitions, in Bloomington in July, the Front Porch Folk Festival in Valparaiso, and an End of Summer Bluegrass Festival in Plymouth. The Riley Festival in October in Greenfield celebrates the birthday of the ‘Hoosier Poet’, James Whitcomb Riley, with one of the largest craft festivals in the state.
Indiana's wooded Brown County is popular with artists, walkers, and birdwatchers. Brown County craft shops in Nashville reflect Indiana's traditional crafts and skills. French Lick is a famous health resort. Recreational activities in Indiana range from hunting and fishing to caving, boating, and swimming.
GovernmentIndiana's state constitution The state constitution was adopted in 1851, replacing the original constitution of 1816.
Structure of state government The Legislature of Indiana comprises a 50-member Senate and an 100-member House of Representatives. There are 50 senatorial districts and 100 representative districts, and voters elect one senator and one representative. Senators serve four-year terms and representatives two-year terms. Indiana has eleven electoral votes in presidential elections, and sends nine representatives and two senators to the US Congress.
The governor of Indiana serves a four-year term and is limited to two consecutive terms. Democrat Mike Pence took the governorship in January 2013. The governor's powers are considerably greater than those of the governors of most other states in the USA, especially concerning the appointment and dismissal of other state officials.
Politically, Indiana has favoured Republican party candidates in US presidential elections, but half of its governors in the 20th century were Democrats.
The Supreme Court has a chief justice and four associate justices. The chief justice serves five years and is selected by a nonpartisan judicial commission. The court of appeals has 15 judges. Indiana's units of local government include 92 counties, townships, cities, towns, school corporations, and special taxing districts.
Indiana is the only state with townships throughout its entire area. Cities in Indiana are not permitted home-rule charters and are subject to state government. All cities have a mayor-council government, and most towns use a town council form of government.
Economy Although it has a service-led economy, Indiana is rich in natural resources and mining is still a significant contributor to the state economy. Natural products include coal (Indiana was ranked seventh among US states in coal production in 2012), limestone, and gypsum. The state is also a leading producer of steel and aluminium, and a major manufacturer of automobile parts, truck and bus bodies, truck trailers, and motor homes. Other manufactures include pharmaceuticals, industrial and agricultural chemicals, machinery, and electrical equipment.
Indiana's main agricultural products are corn, soybeans, and hogs. It is a leading producer of popcorn in the USA. Other important crops include cucumbers, onions, potatoes, snap beans, hay, wheat, and tomatoes. The leading fruit crops are apples, blueberries, and watermelons. Beef and dairy farming also take place in the region.
HistoryEarly days The earliest inhabitants of Indiana were Moundbuilders, an American Indian civilization occupying the area from c. 500 BC to c.AD 100 and creating numerous earthworks. The Delaware, Huron, Kickapoo, Mohican, Miami, Munsee, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, and Shawnee were among many American Indian peoples who subsequently lived in the region. The French-Canadian colonial explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle was the first white person to explore the region, in 1679. Colonial settlements were established 1731–35 by French traders who built forts there. Indiana's first permanent settlement was Vincennes, established in 1732.
The American Revolution The Indiana region was ceded to Britain in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian War (the North American arm of the European conflict, the Seven Years' War). US forces took control of the area, however, when Virginia troops under George Rogers Clark occupied Vincennes and its stronghold, Fort Sackville, in 1778 and again in 1779. The Indiana region became part of the US-governed Northwest Territory in 1787 and was named the Indiana Territory in 1800. It was not until the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, however, that American Indian resistance to white settlement ended.
Early statehood and the Civil War Settlers from eastern states such as New England moved into northern Indiana, and Virginians and Kentuckians settled in the south. This led to serious divisions at the time of the American Civil War, when Copperheads (pro-Confederacy Democrats) were prominent in the state. Early settlers also included many Quakers, who made the state an important part of the Underground Railroad: Newport (now Fountain City) was called the ‘Grand Central Station’ of the fugitive-slave network. Canal and railway systems had developed by the time of the Civil War, and after the war industrialization began to spread.
Industrialization Debts and price wars depressed agriculture and farming in Indiana in the 1850s. Industry, however, developed rapidly. The first petrol pumps in the USA were manufactured in Fort Wayne, and the Standard Oil Company built a major oil refinery in Whiting on Lake Michigan in 1889. By the early 20th century, Indiana had become a leading industrial state, with steel mills, oil refineries, and factories producing cars and vehicle parts. Despite this development, the southern part of the state remained largely undeveloped and rural in character.
Indiana's history is closely linked with that of the car. Indiana engineer Elwood Haynes designed the first successful petrol-powered car, and the Studebaker brothers manufactured the first electric-powered cars in South Bend. In 1906 the United States Steel Corporation (now USX Corporation) built both a vast steel plant and the city of Gary, and throughout the 1920s automobile and metal manufacturing in Indiana boomed. A large private power plant was built in Madison in 1956, attracting workers from the countryside, and rural depopulation began to occur on a large scale. Following widespread automation during the 1960s, however, unemployment in Indiana's cities became a serious problem. The state faced increased unemployment levels during a severe recession in the 1980s, when the demand for steel dramatically declined. Indiana's farmers also faced falling prices and huge debts, and many were forced to sell their land. Increased taxes and development projects helped to promote new business and revenue in the state during the 1990s, and older parts of Indianapolis have subsequently been rebuilt and improved.
Famous peoplesport Larry Bird (1956– ), basketball player
the arts Lew Wallace (1827–1905), author; Theodore Clement Steele (1847–1926), painter; James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916), poet; Gene Stratton Porter (1863–1924), author; George Ade (1866–1944), humorist and playwright; Booth Tarkington (1869–1946), writer; Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945), author; Cole Porter (1892–1964), composer; Hoagy Carmichael (1899–1981), composer; Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007), author; James Dean (1931–1955), actor; Jim Davis (1945– ), cartoonist and creator of the Garfield comic strip; David Letterman (1947– ), chat show host; John Cougar Mellencamp (1951– ), singer; Michael Jackson (1958–2009), singer
science James Oliver (1823–1908), inventor of the hard-steel plough; Wilbur Wright (1867–1912), co-inventor of the aeroplane
politics and law Eugene V Debs (1855–1926), five-time Socialist candidate for US presidency; Dan Quayle (1947– ), US vice president.
Indiana – flag
The majority of the settlement of the American old frontier in the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries, including southern Indiana, was...
Modern-day Indiana was for hundreds of years a part of the Mississippian culture that stretched across large tracts of America. The area was...
The present-day state of Indiana was a center of the French fur trade in the early eighteenth century. Fur traders traveled up the Saint...