200 Years of Indiana Statehood

United States #1308 (1966)

United States #1308 (1966)

Today marks the bicentennial of the state of Indiana’s admission to the United States. On December 11, 1816, the territory was admitted to the Union as its nineteenth state. Indiana is the 38th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. The state’s name means “Land of the Indians”, or simply “Indian Land” and stems from Indiana’s territorial history. On May 7, 1800, the United States Congress passed legislation to divide the Northwest Territory into two areas and named the western section the Indiana Territory. In 1816, when Congress passed an Enabling Act to begin the process of establishing statehood for Indiana, a part of this territorial land became the geographic area for the new state. A resident of the state is known as a Hoosier which was originally a term for a backwoodsman, a rough countryman, or a country bumpkin.

Located in the midwestern United States, Indiana is one of eight states that make up the Great Lakes Region. It is bordered on the north by Michigan, on the east by Ohio, and on the west by Illinois, while Lake Michigan borders Indiana on the northwest and the Ohio River separates Indiana from Kentucky on the south. The states has a total area (land and water) of 36,418 square miles (94,320 km²). The average altitude is about 760 feet (230 meter) above sea level. The highest point in the state is Hoosier Hill in Wayne County at 1,257 feet (383 meters) above sea level. The lowest point at 320 feet (98 meters) above sea level is located in Posey County, where the Wabash River flows into the Ohio River.

indiana-map

The first inhabitants in what is now Indiana were the Paleo-Indians, who arrived about 8000 BC after the melting of the glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. Divided into small groups, the Paleo-Indians were nomads who hunted large game such as mastodons. They created stone tools made out of chert by chipping, knapping and flaking. The Archaic period, which began between 5000 and 4000 BC, covered the next phase of indigenous culture. The people developed new tools as well as techniques to cook food, an important step in civilization. Such new tools included different types of spear points and knives, with various forms of notches. They made ground-stone tools such as stone axes, woodworking tools and grinding stones. During the latter part of the period, they built earthwork mounds and middens, which showed that settlements were becoming more permanent.

The Archaic period ended at about 1500 BC, although some Archaic people lived until 700 BC. Afterward, the Woodland period took place in Indiana, where various new cultural attributes appeared. During this period, the people created ceramics and pottery, and extended their cultivation of plants. An early Woodland period group named the Adena people had elegant burial rituals, featuring log tombs beneath earth mounds. In the middle portion of the Woodland period, the Hopewell people began developing long-range trade of goods. Nearing the end of the stage, the people developed highly productive cultivation and adaptation of agriculture, growing such crops as corn and squash. The Woodland period ended around 1000 AD.

The Mississippian culture emerged, lasting from 1000 until the 15th century, shortly before the arrival of Europeans. During this stage, the people created large urban settlements designed according to their cosmology, with large mounds and plazas defining ceremonial and public spaces. The concentrated settlements depended on the agricultural surpluses. One such complex was the Angel Mounds. They had large public areas such as plazas and platform mounds, where leaders lived or conducted rituals. Mississippian civilization collapsed in Indiana during the mid-15th century for reasons that remain unclear. The historic Native American tribes in the area at the time of European encounter spoke different languages of the Algonquian family. They included the Shawnee, Miami, and Illini. Later they were joined by refugee tribes from eastern regions including the Delaware who settled in the White and Whitewater River Valleys.

In 1679 the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was the first European to cross into Indiana after reaching present-day South Bend at the Saint Joseph River. He returned the following year to learn about the region. French-Canadian fur traders soon arrived, bringing blankets, jewelry, tools, whiskey and weapons to trade for skins with the Native Americans. By 1702, Sieur Juchereau established the first trading post near Vincennes. In 1715, Sieur de Vincennes built Fort Miami at Kekionga, now Fort Wayne. In 1717, another Canadian, Picote de Beletre, built Fort Ouiatenon on the Wabash River, to try to control Native American trade routes from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River. In 1732, Sieur de Vincennes built a second fur trading post at Vincennes. French Canadian settlers, who had left the earlier post because of hostilities, returned in larger numbers. In a period of a few years, British colonists arrived from the East and contended against the Canadians for control of the lucrative fur trade. Fighting between the French and British colonists occurred throughout the 1750s as a result.

The Native American tribes of Indiana sided with the French Canadians during the French and Indian War (also known as the Seven Years’ War). With British victory in 1763, the French were forced to cede all their lands in North America east of the Mississippi River and north and west of the colonies to the British crown.

The tribes in Indiana did not give up; they destroyed Fort Ouiatenon and Fort Miami during Pontiac’s Rebellion. The British royal proclamation of 1763 designated the land west of the Appalachians for Indian use, and excluded British colonists from the area, which the Crown called Indian Territory.

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began as the colonists sought more self-government and independence from the British. The majority of the fighting took place near the East Coast, but the Patriot military officer George Rogers Clark called for an army to help fight the British in the west. Clark’s army won significant battles and took over Vincennes and Fort Sackville on February 25, 1779. During the war, Clark managed to cut off British troops, who were attacking the eastern colonists from the west. His success is often credited for changing the course of the American Revolutionary War. At the end of the war, through the Treaty of Paris, the British crown ceded their claims to the land south of the Great Lakes to the newly formed United States, including American Indian lands.

In 1787, the United States defined present-day Indiana as part of its Northwest Territory. In 1800, Congress separated Ohio from the Northwest Territory, designating the rest of the land as the Indiana Territory. President Thomas Jefferson chose William Henry Harrison as the governor of the territory and Vincennes was established as the capital. After Michigan Territory was separated and the Illinois Territory was formed, Indiana was reduced to its current size and geography.

Starting with the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and Treaty of Greenville, 1795, Indian titles to Indiana lands were extinguished by usurpation, purchase, or war and treaty. About half the state was acquired in the St. Mary’s Purchase from the Miami in 1818. Purchases weren’t complete until the Treaty of Mississinwas in 1826 acquired the last of the reserved Indian lands in the northeast.

In 1810, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa encouraged other tribes in the territory to resist European settlement. Tensions rose and the U.S. authorized Harrison to launch a preemptive expedition against Tecumseh’s Confederacy; the Americans gained victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811. Tecumseh was killed in 1813 during the Battle of Thames. After his death, armed resistance to United States control ended in the region. Most Native American tribes in the state were later removed to west of the Mississippi River in the 1820s and 1830s after US negotiations and purchase of their lands.

In order to decrease the threat of Indian raids following the Battle of Tippecanoe, Corydon, a town in the far southern part of Indiana, was named the second capital of the Indiana Territory in May 1813. Two years later, a petition for statehood was approved by the territorial general assembly and sent to Congress. An Enabling Act was passed to provide an election of delegates to write a constitution for Indiana. On June 10, 1816, delegates assembled at Corydon to write the constitution, which was completed in 19 days. President James Madison approved Indiana’s admission into the union as the nineteenth state on December 11, 1816. In 1825, the state capital was moved from Corydon to Indianapolis.

Many European immigrants went west to settle in Indiana in the early nineteenth century. The largest immigrant group to settle in Indiana were Germans, as well as numerous immigrants from Ireland and England. Americans who were primarily ethnically English migrated from the Northern Tier of New York and New England, as well as the mid-Atlantic state of Pennsylvania. The arrival of steamboats on the Ohio River in 1811, and the National Road at Richmond in 1829 greatly facilitated settlement of northern and western Indiana.

Following statehood, the new government worked to transform Indiana from a frontier into a developed, well-populated, and thriving state, beginning significant demographic and economic changes. The state’s founders initiated a program, Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act, that led to the construction of roads, canals, railroads and state-funded public schools. The plans bankrupted the state and were a financial disaster, but increased land and produce value more than fourfold. In response to the crisis and in order to avert another, in 1851, a second constitution was adopted. Among its provisions were a prohibition on public debt and extension of suffrage to African-Americans.

During the American Civil War, Indiana became politically influential and played an important role in the affairs of the nation. As the first western state to mobilize for the United States in the war, Indiana had soldiers participating in all of the major engagements. The state provided 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery and 13 regiments of cavalry to the cause of the Union. In 1861, Indiana was assigned a quota of 7,500 men to join the Union Army. So many volunteered in the first call that thousands had to be turned away. Before the war ended, Indiana contributed 208,367 men to fight and serve in the war. Casualties were over 35% among these men: 24,416 lost their lives in the conflict and over 50,000 more were wounded. The only Civil War battle fought in Indiana was the Battle of Corydon, which occurred during Morgan’s Raid. The battle left 15 dead, 40 wounded, and 355 captured.

Indiana remained a largely agricultural state; post-war industries included food processing, such as milling grain, distilling it into alcohol, and meatpacking; building of wagons, buggies, farm machinery, and hardware.

With the onset of the industrial revolution, Indiana industry began to grow at an accelerated rate across the northern part of the state. With industrialization, workers developed labor unions and suffrage movements arose in relation to the progress of women. The Indiana Gas Boom led to rapid industrialization during the late nineteenth century by providing cheap fuel to the region. In the early twentieth century, Indiana developed into a strong manufacturing state with ties to the new auto industry. Haynes-Apperson, the nation’s first commercially successful auto company, operated in Kokomo until 1925. The construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the start of auto-related industries were also related to the auto industry boom.

During the 1930s, Indiana, like the rest of the nation, was affected by the Great Depression. The economic downturn had a wide-ranging negative impact on Indiana, such as the decline of urbanization. The Dust Bowl further to the west resulted in many migrants fleeing into the more industrialized Midwest. Governor Paul V. McNutt’s administration struggled to build a state-funded welfare system to help the overwhelmed private charities. During his administration, spending and taxes were both cut drastically in response to the Depression, and the state government was completely reorganized. McNutt ended Prohibition in the state and enacted the state’s first income tax. On several occasions, he declared martial law to put an end to worker strikes.

World War II helped lift the economy in Indiana, as the war required steel, food and other goods that were produced in the state. Roughly ten percent of Indiana’s population joined the armed forces, while hundreds of industries earned war production contracts and began making war material. Indiana manufactured 4.5 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking eighth among the 48 states. The expansion of industry to meet war demands helped end the Great Depression.

With the conclusion of World War II, Indiana rebounded to levels of production before the Great Depression. Industry became the primary employer, a trend that continued into the 1960s. Urbanization during the 1950s and 1960s led to substantial growth in the state’s cities. The auto, steel and pharmaceutical industries topped Indiana’s major businesses. Indiana’s population continued to grow during the years after the war, exceeding five million by the 1970 census. In the 1960s, the administration of Matthew E. Welsh adopted its first sales tax of two percent. Indiana schools were desegregated in 1949. In 1950, the Census Bureau reported Indiana’s population as 95.5% white and 4.4% black. Governor Welsh also worked with the General Assembly to pass the Indiana Civil Rights Bill, granting equal protection to minorities in seeking employment.

Beginning in 1970, a series of amendments to the state constitution were proposed. With adoption, the Indiana Court of Appeals was created and the procedure of appointing justices on the courts was adjusted.

The 1973 oil crisis created a recession that hurt the automotive industry in Indiana. Companies such as Delco Electronics and Delphi began a long series of downsizing that contributed to high unemployment rates in manufacturing in Anderson, Muncie, and Kokomo. The restructuring and deindustrialization trend continued until the 1980s, when the national and state economy began to diversify and recover.

Today, Indiana has a diverse economy with a gross state product of $298 billion in 2012. The has several metropolitan areas with populations greater than 100,000 and a number of smaller industrial cities and towns. Indiana is home to several major sports teams and athletic events including the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, the Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400 motorsports races.

Scott #1308 was released on April 16, 1966, in Corydon, Indiana, the state’s first capital. It is based on a commemorative seal designed by Paul Wehr of Indianapolis for the sesquicentennial observance. The cluster of brown stars symbolize Indiana’s status as the nineteenth state to gain admission to the Union. The colors listed for this stamp are yellow, ocher and violet blue. It was printed on the Giori press and issued in panes of fifty. The arrangement of the colors required two passes through the press, resulting in two plate numbers on each pane. An initial printing of 115 million stamps was authorized.

indiana-flag

indiana-seal

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