Indiana is located in the Midwest. It is both an agricultural and an industrial state. It is known as the “Crossroads of America” because it is so influential for United States travel and commerce. The largest city in the state, and its capital, is Indianapolis. It is located in the middle of the state, and it is a major hub of transportation, with several roads connecting to it.
Indiana’s soil and terrain varied greatly. That fact had a great influence on how the area was settled. The southern part of the state mainly has hills and rough terrain with soil that won’t support crops. However, the central part of the state is a perfect farming region because of its flat lands and rich soil. The northern part of the state has a lot of flat land, but it is also home to several marshes, making it poor for farming.
In the beginning of the 1799s trappers and explorers from France came to the area. Native American tribes, such as the Potawatomi and the Miami, made contact with those trappers. The French explorers cooperated with the Native American tribes and learned several things from them. In fact, several of them chose to marry Native American brides.
The middle of the 1700s brought the start of the French and Indian War. Around that time, the area that is now Indiana was heavily controlled by the British. Then, in 1763, a proclamation was created that kept any settlers from moving to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. All land to the west was to be used only by fur traders and Native Americans. When the Revolutionary War took place, an expedition led by George Rogers Clark led to the area being claimed by the United States. Once the area was under United States control, several states tried to claim Indiana land, including Massachusetts, Virginia, and Connecticut.
After the Revolutionary War ended, several tribes of Native Americans kept trading with French people. Many of those tribes moved to the Mississippi River’s west side. Soon, settlers and land speculators also moved out west, despite the proclamation that prohibited that expansion. In 1787 what is now Indiana became part of Northwest Territory. All of what is now Indiana and part of what is now Illinois became Knox County. For the next two decades, Native American conflicts increased and jurisdictions in Northwest Territory changed quite a bit.
In 1800 Indiana Territory was created. In 1805 it was divided into Indiana Territory and Michigan Territory. In 1809 Indiana Territory was split again, creating Illinois territory. Then, on December 11, 1816, Indiana became a state.
When the War of 1812 came to an end many settlers came to Indiana from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. They all settled in what is now the southern section of the state of Indiana. Many of those settlers were German and Scotch-Irish farmers, whose families originally settled in Pennsylvania in the late 18th century.
In the early 1800s, settlers came to Indiana via the Ohio River and land routes from the Appalachian Mountains. Early Indiana farms were located near the various rivers in the area, including the White, Whitewater, Ohio, and Wabash.
Since the northern part of Indiana was home to Native Americans the longest, it was settled late. Settlers also had to deal with difficult terrain and a lack of clear routes across the land. Roads were established mainly along trails created by animals or Native American tribes. In 1836, the Michigan Road was put into use. It ran from the north to the south, beginning in Michigan City and ending in Madison. Then, in the 1830s, the government’s National Road was run through Indiana in an attempt to connect the West to the East. In 1836, several canal, railroad, and road projects were started. However, the Great Depression halted most of those projects. Nevertheless, the government funded the completion of the 468-mile Erie Canal. People and goods were able to travel to and from the area at a much faster rate when the railroads were clearly established in the 1840s and 1850s.
In the late 1800s Indiana manufacturing industries began to pop up, and they have continued to thrive throughout the years. The steel industry has been particularly prominent. It and other industries have led to many different ethnic groups coming to the area, including Europeans and African Americans.