What is the state of Indiana known for? When did Indiana become a state? These and other questions are answered in our Indiana history timeline and throughout this unit study supplement.

Indiana is a midwestern state with a name that is thought to mean “land of the Indians.” Indiana is known for manufacturing steel, automobiles, medicines, hardwood furniture, mobile homes, electrical products, and caskets.  Agriculturally, the state is one of the top producers of corn, mint, and soybeans, along with tomatoes and watermelon, hogs, dairy products, turkeys, ducks, and sheep. Mining is also important as Indiana is a major producer of limestone (a material used in construction).

In this article you’ll learn interesting facts about Indiana, including historical facts about Indiana, an Indiana history timeline, geography facts and more. Time4Learning members can download our list of PreK-12 interactive activities that align with your study of Indiana.  Here are a few Indiana facts for kids:

Indiana Fast Facts

Became a State:

December 11, 1816

Order it Joined the Union:

19th state

State Capital:

Indianapolis

State Abbreviation:

IN

Border States:

State Flag:

Flag of Indiana

State Song:

“On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”

State Flower:

Peony

State Nickname:

Hoosier State

Notable Indianans:

Historical Facts About Indiana

Indiana has a rich history. For thousands of years, numerous indigenous peoples and Native Americans lived in what is known today as Indiana. Among them were the Shawnee, Miami, and Illini. Eventually tribes from eastern regions including the Delaware moved into the region. Between 1,000 AD and the 15th century, right before the Europeans arrived, the Natives in the region had created large settlements with mounds and plazas. One such settlement was Angel Mounds.

In 1679, the French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, explored the region at the St. Joseph River. Soon thereafter, French-Canadian traders arrived. The increase in trade led to the first trading post to be established near Vincennes. As fur trading continued to grow in the area between Native Americans and French Canadian settlers, British colonists started to arrive. As a result, the British and the French began fighting over control of the lucrative fur trade.

As tensions escalated the French joined forces with the Native American tribes of Indiana during the French and Indian War in 1754. In 1763 as the British came out victorious, the French were forced to cede all lands east of the Mississippi River and north and west of the colonies. The Native American tribes however did not give up, and later that year the British crown designated the land west of the Appalachians “Indian Territory”. This proclamation excluded British colonists from the area.

Indiana was later ceded to the newly formed United States after the American Revolutionary War through the Treaty of Paris. Once under US control, the Michigan Territory and the Illinois Territory were formed, reducing Indiana to its current size and geography.

Land titles started to get issued in the region and European settlement in the area slowly began to rise. This led to the Shawnee and other indigenous tribes resist European settlement. The disputes culminated with the Battle of Tippecanoe where the US gained victory. Shawnee tribal chief Tecumseh, leader of the rebellion was killed in 1813 during the Battle of Thames. After that, most Native American tribes were removed from the area to the west of the Mississippi River in the 1820’s and 1830’s after the US purchased their lands.

In the Indiana history timeline below, you’ll learn more Indiana facts and information about the state’s historical events.

1679

French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, explored the St. Joseph River from Michigan

1702

First trading post near Vincennes is established by Sieur Juchereau

1732

French built Fort Vincennes, one of the first permanent white settlements west of the Appalachians, in order to protect their trade route from settlers arriving from the south

1750’s

British colonists arrived, and fighting between the French and British colonists began.

1763

British colonists win the French and Indian War. The Indiana region gets ceded to the British crown. The crown designated the area “Indian Territory” and forbade further white settlement.

1774

British Parliament annexed lands to Quebec

1775-1779

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia made claims to the area during the American Revolution

1779

George Rogers Clark led troops from Kaskaskia to Vincennes, securing the region for rebelling colonies

1783

US acquired all lands west of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio River, east of the Mississippi River, and south of the Great Lakes through the Peace of Paris treaties

1784

First US settlement was founded at Clarksville on the Ohio River

1787

Indiana became part of the Northwest Territory with Vincennes as the territory capital

1794

Battle near Fallen Timbers, where General Anthony Wayne defeated the Native Americans near the Ohio border

1805

The old capitol building was constructed in Vincennes

1811

Battle of Tippecanoe, the last major battle between US troops (led by General William Henry Harrison) and the Native Americans

1816

Indiana became the 19th state in the US, under President James Madison with Corydon as the capital

1825

State capital is moved to Indianapolis, after the delegates voted to move the capital there

1834

Single-car, horse-drawn railroad arrived in Shelbyville

1851

State constitution was revised to reinforce powers of local government, prevent state debt, and create a public school system supported by taxes

1893

American Railway Union was founded in Terre Haute by Eugene V. Debs

1894

Pullman Strike, a railroad strike and boycott that disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest for two months, led by Eugene V. Debs and partially resulting in the creation of Labor Day

1906

Steelmaking city of Gary was established

1970

Annual meetings of the state legislature were approved (only local meetings prior)

Bring history and geography to life with Time4Learning’s interactive online social studies curriculum for grades 2-12.

Geographical Facts About Indiana

Now that you’ve learned some interesting facts about Indiana’s history, let’s discover some geography facts about the Hoosier state. Indiana is a midwestern state just south of The Great Lakes. In Indiana, you’ll find steep hills, low hills, valleys and caves.

There are all sorts of flora and fauna in Indiana. Among the most common animals are the cardinal (the state bird) which lives in Indiana year-round, bobcats, muskrats and more. Throughout Indiana you’ll find the tulip tree (the state tree) which is also known as the yellow poplar. Yellow, bell-shaped flowers bloom from this tree. Sycamore, eastern red cedar and white oak are also widespread trees in Indiana.

Limestone is an important natural resource in Indiana. It is heavily quarried in the state and has been used in the construction of buildings such as the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

Indiana’s land has been largely modified by glaciers, leaving rich soil and deposits like sand and gravel.  Along the Lake Michigan border lies the Indiana Dunes, sand dunes that were largely decreased by industry and private homes until 1972 when the area became the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Indiana’s location and geography result in mild temperatures through the four seasons, with slightly more extreme temperatures and greater snowfall in the area near Lake Michigan.  Indiana, however, does have severe storms in the spring, including high numbers of tornadoes.

Check out this map of Indiana to start getting familiar with the state. Then read through the following Indiana geography facts and print out the map of Indiana provided below and add these items to the map.

  • Indiana is bordered by the state of Michigan and Lake Michigan in the north, Kentucky in the south, Illinois in the west, and Ohio in the east.
  • The capital of Indianapolis lies near the center of the state on the White River.
  • The White River runs from the southwest corner of the state to central Indiana and toward the Ohio border.
  • The Wabash River, the longest river in Indiana begins in the northern half of Indiana and flows toward the southwest corner of the state where it forms the border between Indiana and Illinois.
  • The Ohio River forms the southeastern border with Kentucky.
  • The Maumee River flows northeastward through Fort Wayne toward Lake Erie.
  • Monroe Lake is located in south central Indiana.
  • The highest point in Indiana is Hoosier Hill, near the Ohio border, at 1,250 feet above sea level.
  • The lowest point (330 feet) is in the southwest where the Wabash River enters the Ohio River.

Indiana State Map

Download our FREE Indiana state map printable. Use it as a coloring page or use it to plot the state’s geographical features.

Download

Activities for Children in Indiana

Want to take learning fun facts about Indiana even further?  Visit one or more of the state’s unique sites. Homeschoolers in Indiana can plan a day trip while out-of-town visitors can stay and see several interesting places. Here are a few ideas to help you learn some Indiana state facts:

  • Amish Acres (Nappanee):  Come and see the restored Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns farmstead, the only Amish farm listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Take a tour of the house, enjoy a ride on the farm wagon around the pond, visit the museum, watch a documentary film, see demonstrations about maple syrup or apple cider, play with the farm animals, and participate in a spelling bee at the Amish school.  Enjoy youth theater, have lunch in the Restaurant Barn, or do some shopping. You can even stay overnight!
  • Children’s Museum (Indianapolis):  Wouldn’t you love to see a building being climbed by a dinosaur?  Visit the Children’s Museum to learn about Ancient Greece, popular culture, the power of children, glass blowing, archaeology.  Experience a show at Lilly Theater, take a ride on a carousel, step inside a model space station, listen to community storytellers, and explore the day-to-day life of a scientist.  Enjoy the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience or go outdoors for sports activities related to baseball, basketball, track, football, golf, hockey, racing, soccer, and tennis.
  • Indianapolis Zoo (Indianapolis):  Visit the zoo’s many animals and exhibits including the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, White River Gardens, and exhibits focusing on the plains, deserts, forests, and oceans.  See the Flights of Fancy exhibit, participate in the hands-on Animal Adventures or Dolphin In-Water Adventures, or enjoy the various rides and attractions. Check the website for youth programs, camps, and projects as well as resources for educators, including homeschoolers.
  • Marengo Cave (Marengo):  Visit the most popular natural tourist destination in Indiana.  Tour the Crystal Palace (40-minute tour) to see many formations and flowstone deposits.  Take the 1-hour Dripstone Trail tour to see the delicate soda straws, totem pole stalagmites, and Penny Ceiling.  To go beyond the walking tours, try the Underground Adventure, where you can get face to face with the mud and cave salamanders.  Young children can crawl through a cave simulator, or you can enjoy canoeing and gem mining on the property.
  • WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology (Bloomington):  Experience over 65 hands-on indoor and outdoor science exhibits related to how things work.  There are plenty of learning activities to help you supplement your science curriculum.  All children will love the Bubble-Airium and the live amphibians, reptiles, and insects of the Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Sciences.

Looking for more things to do with your kids in Indiana? Check out this post full of field trip ideas in Indiana!

Indiana Freebies and Deals for Homeschoolers

You can learn more interesting facts about Indiana’s history and geography without much cost.  Below are just a few ideas:

  • Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (New Castle): Explore the sport from its beginnings in the 1890s to today through bricks honoring the teams, coaches, and players important to the sport.  See an introductory film, find artifacts and photos, and engage in hands-on exhibits. Visit the enshrinement hall where each inductee is honored and then do a little shopping at the gift shop.  Admission is $5 or under for all, and group rates can be arranged for as little as $1 per person.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park (Porter):  Explore an area that has resulted from natural processes seen nowhere else on earth to this scale.  Enjoy the long dunes and marshes that have resulted from a 300-mile-long lake–thanks to its strong winds and waves–taking sands from its banks and depositing that sand in 250-foot-high dunes.  See unique plants only found here, as well as diverse animal species and migratory birds, or hike 50 miles of trails over 15,000 acres of the park’s dunes, prairies, rivers, forests, and wetlands.  The entrance fee is $6 per car, but 10-year-old homeschooled children (i.e., fourth graders) are eligible for free admission for the full school year plus the following summer through the Every Kid in a Park voucher program.
  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial (Lincoln City):  See the site of Abraham Lincoln’s home when he was a boy.  Walk the two miles of trails, visit the Pioneer Cemetery, and experience the Living Historical Farm.  Watch the orientation film, and explore the visitor center, and kids can be part of the free Junior Ranger program.  Admission is free.
  • Scottish Rite Cathedral (Indianapolis):  Learn about the Freemason fraternity whose members include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt as well as some Hollywood actors.  Visit the largest building in the country that is dedicated to this group, see the neo-Gothic architecture of the 212-foot-high main tower, and witness the 54-bell carillon.  Complimentary tours are scheduled Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Indiana Learning Games for Children

Now that you know some interesting things about Indiana, test your Indiana facts knowledge with these free games and activities:

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