Indiana State History
Summary of Indiana state history, including first exploration by the French. Learn how it became a state.
A major transportation complex of the midwest, the territory that is now known as Indiana was first explored by the French. Mostly fur traders, they established the first permanent settlement at Vincennes in 1702. The settlement located in south western Indiana on the Wabash River quickly grew to be a city. It was fortified in 1732 and then occupied by the British in 1763. In 1779 it was captured in a revolution by G. R. Clark and became a territory of the United States. It later became the capitol of the Indiana territory in 1800 through 1813.
When the Indiana Territory was established in 1800, the process of subduing the indians continued through the indecisive battle of Tippiconoe in 1811 under W. H. Harrison. This area was a river rising in the lake district of north east Indiana that flows 200 miles south west to the Wabash River above Lafayette. Immigration swelled after virtual dispossession of indians following War of 1812 and in 1816 Indiana became the 16th state admitted to the Union.
The Panic of 1837, which hurt Indiana badly, was the result of reckless speculation. In the south the price of cotton fell by almost one half on the New Orleans market. In New York there were demonstrations by the unemployed. Protesting against high rents and the inflated prices of food stuff as well as fuel, a mob broke into the city's flour warehouses and sacked the supplies. New York banks suspended special payments and were followed by banks from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston. The sale of public land fell and the effects of the panic persisted until 1942, particularly in the southern and western states.
Indiana supported the Union in Civil War despite activities of Knights of The Golden Circle. This was a secret order of Southern sympathizers in the north during the war. The first castle for this group was established in 1854 in Cincinnati. They were active in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. Most of the membership were Peace Democrats who were opposed to war and the increasing federal power.
Rapid rise of industry in the 19th century found farmers and laborers fighting for their rights. Indiana was benefited by opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway and Power Project in 1959. Today Indiana covers an area of 36,291 square miles. The Capitol is Indianapolis. The State Bird is the Cardinal and the State Flower is the Peony.