The state of Indiana's motto is the "Crossroads of America." This title comes from the fact that there are numerous cross-country highways that intersect within the state. Highways such as the National Road and U.S. Route 41 just to name a few. It is one of the 50 U.S. States in the Midwestern region of the nation.
The people who live here are known as Hoosiers, which is a word of unknown origins surprisingly. Before we delve into an overview of the area, a brief history, geography of the state, and an examination of official symbols, here are some key facts you should know:
IN is located in the Midwestern Great Lakes region of North America.It is the ranked 38th in size and 16th most populated of the 50 U.S. states. The capital and largest city is Indianapolis, and it was admitted as the 19th state in December of 1816. Prior to becoming an territory, this area was inhabited by various tribes of Native Americans for thousands of years.
When it came time for immigrants to settle in this area, the northern regions were occupied by people from New England and New York. The central areas were settled by people from the Mid-Atlantic regions, and the south was settled by people from southern states like Kentucky and Tennessee.
This state is known for having a widely varied economy that brought in over $298 billion in gross state product as of 2012. Several major city areas boast populations over 100,000. Combine this with a number of smaller industrialized areas, and you have a melting pot of an economy.
Several major sports teams and events are held here as well. For example, the NFL team known as the Indianapolis Colts is from here. In addition, there is the Indianapolis 500 motorsport race track.
A Brief Historical Overview
The first humans to inhabit this area of the world were the Paleo-Indians who first arrived sometime around 8,000 B.C. They came after the glaciers of the Ice Age melted and divided into small groups of nomads that hunted for their food. In most cases this was probably mastodons that they found during their hunting trips.
They used tools and continued to develop new techniques for cooking and preparing food which were major steps forward. Eventually they began establishing more permanent settlements as well, abandoning their old nomadic ways. These cultures evolved into self-sufficient civilizations over the course of thousands of years.
In 1679, the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle became the first European to enter this area of the U.S. French-Canadian fur traders soon came to the area bringing blankets, tools, jewelry, whiskey, and weapons to trade for skins with Native Americans. In 1702 the first trading post was established near Vincennes.
Conflicts arose during the Seven Years' War when the Native Americans sided with the French Canadians to fight Britain. The British won in 1763 and took the lands from France. The tribes fought on for some time, and during the Revolutionary War George Rogers Clark was responsible for cutting off British troops here that were trying to attack from the west.
While native tribes continued to resist the settlement of this area, the death of Tecumseh in 1813 during the Battle of Thames halted the resistance and led to finalized purchase of the Native American lands. Once the area became a state, it was decided that it should be developed into a thriving area instead of a frontier.
An improvement act was passed that instituted construction of roads, canals, railroads, and public schools. Like many other areas, the Great Depression and World War II drastically altered the production levels and stability of the area, but it recovered and diversified economically in the following years.
Geography and Climate
The total size of the area is 36,418 square miles. Despite this size, it is still ranked as the 38th largest. The geographic center of the area is in Marion County. It is one of eight states that compose the Great Lakes Region. To the north is Michigan, to the east Ohio, Illinois to the west, and lake Michigan to the northwest.
The Central Lowlands and the Interior Low Plateaus compose the geography of the area. Much of these features are a result of the melting glaciers from the Ice Age. Much of the area is flat and low, there are some sand ridges and dunes in the northwest, some of which are up to 200 feet tall. The southern area is characterized by rugged terrain and caves.
The area has a humid continental climate with cold winters and warm, wet summers. The southern region of the area has a humid subtropical climate with a lot more rain than other portions of the state. Despite being ranked 8th in a list of the top 20 tornado-prone states, it is not a part of tornado alley.
IN State Symbols
In total, there are twelve official emblems in addition to non-designated ones. They are decided and voted on by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Compared to others, there are fewer symbols here than other states. The first symbol was the Seal of Indiana For almost a century it was the only symbol, until the state song was decided in 1913.
For a time this was also the only place that didn't have a flag. There was a banner chosen in 1917 that was renamed as the flag in 1955. The newest symbol to be chosen was the Grouseland Rifle which was decided upon in 2012 during the 117th General Assembly.
Looking at the flag, it is a blue background with a torch in the center surrounded by nineteen stars. Thirteen of them represent the original colonies, five for the next five states, and one for Indiana.
Combine this with our Indiana state facts, and you'll be a master of this place and its characteristics.