Indiana History - the history of Indiana
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Indiana   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Indiana History


Indiana History

Indiana has long been inhabited by Native American peoples, and was part of the Mississippian cultural area.

The territory was claimed as part of the French empire until 1763. Following the Seven Years' War (generally known in the US as the "French and Indian War"), control of the area passed to Britain. In 1783, after the American Revolution, the area became part of the United States' Northwest Territory.

In 1816, Indiana was the 19th state admitted to the Union. As no slavery was allowed, it made an attractive destination for immigrants from Kentucky who disapproved of slavery.

At the outset of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Indiana was an enthusiastic contributor to the Union cause: more than three times as many men as Lincoln had called for volunteered. As the war went on with heavy casualties, war weariness did gradually begin to set in, and it was eventually necessary to introduce recruitment bounties and finally a draft (although 95% of Hoosiers who fought in the civil war were volunteers). over all Indiana supplied about 200,000 men to the Union army (about 15% of the state's entire population), and more than one in eight of these lost their lives during the war.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, industry began to arrive in Indiana which had previously been an agricultural state. This new industry included U.S. Steel and a number of automobile manufacturers. A testing facility for automobiles, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909, and from 1911 it has been the site of the famous Indianopolis 500.

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The Indiana Way: A State History

By James H. Madison

Indiana University Press
Released: 1990-08-22
Paperback (364 pages)

The Indiana Way: A State History
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This is a splendid example of how to write well balanced, highly readable state history. -- The Old NorthwestMadison has succeeded as have few other authors of state histories in blending modern scholarly concerns with the traditional narrative historiography of his state. This book is in many ways a model state history. -- ChoiceNeither too detailed and provincial, nor too broad and comparative, The Indiana Way adopts an integrated analytical approach, but also includes some narrative and biography. -- Journal of American History

Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana

By James H. Madison

Indiana University Press
Paperback (424 pages)

Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana
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Who are the people called Hoosiers? What are their stories? Two centuries ago, on the Indiana frontier, they were settlers who created a way of life they passed to later generations. They came to value individual freedom and distrusted government, even as they demanded that government remove Indians, sell them land, and bring democracy. Down to the present, Hoosiers have remained wary of government power and have taken care to guard their tax dollars and their personal independence. Yet the people of Indiana have always accommodated change, exchanging log cabins and spinning wheels for railroads, cities, and factories in the 19th century, automobiles, suburbs, and foreign investment in the 20th. The present has brought new issues and challenges, as Indiana's citizens respond to a rapidly changing world. James H. Madison's sparkling new history tells the stories of these Hoosiers, offering an invigorating view of one of America's distinctive states and the long and fascinating journey of its people.

Road Trip: A Pocket History of Indiana

By Andrea Neal

Indiana Historical Society Press
Paperback (261 pages)

Road Trip: A Pocket History of Indiana
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The bicentennial of Indiana statehood in 2016 is the perfect time for Hoosiers of all stripes to hit the road and visit sites that speak to the nineteenth state's character. In her book, Andrea Neal has selected the top 100 events/historical figures in Indiana history, some well-known like George Rogers Clark, and others obscured by time or memory such as the visit of Marquis de Lafayette to southern Indiana.

These highly readable essays and photographs that accompany them feature a tourist site or landmark that in some way brings the subject to life. This will enable interested Hoosiers to travel the entire state to experience history firsthand. Related activities and sites include nature hikes, museums, markers, monuments, and memorials. The sites appear in chronological order, beginning with the impact of the Ice Age on Indiana and ending with the legacy of the bicentennial itself.

Finalist (Travel), Foreword INDIE Book of the Year Award

Pioneer History of Indiana: Including Stories, Incidents, and Customs of the Early Settlers (Classic Reprint)

By William Monroe Cockrum

Forgotten Books
Paperback (644 pages)

Pioneer History of Indiana: Including Stories, Incidents, and Customs of the Early Settlers (Classic Reprint)
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Excerpt from Pioneer History of Indiana: Including Stories, Incidents, and Customs of the Early Settlers

For fifty years the data for this volume has been collect ing: From personal acquaintance with the pioneers, from a history of incidents transmitted from parents to children and from tradition that is accepted as reliable.

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Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

A Home in the Woods: Pioneer Life in Indiana

By Howard Johnson

Indiana University Press
Released: 1991-08-22
Paperback (160 pages)

A Home in the Woods: Pioneer Life in Indiana
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  • ISBN13: 9780253206169
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Product Description:

"It's hard to picture this part of the country as I first remember it. Here and there was a cabin home with a little spot of clearin close by. The rest of the country was jist one great big woods and miles and miles in most every direction. From your cabin you could see no farther than the wall of trees surrounding the clearin; not another cabin in sight."

Thus begins Oliver Johnson's account of pioneer life in the Indianapolis area in the 1820s and 1830s. Elsewhere, he says, "We lived mighty happy and contented in the early days. With a good snug cabin, a big fireplace, and a supply of corn meal on hand, there wasn't much to worry about. Our big family spent many a pleasant winter evenin settin around a blazin fire while the wind and snow cut capers outside." Each chapter is a story in itself: "The Endless Tress," "To Build a Cabin," "Clearing the Land," "The Fireplace," "The Spinning Wheel," "Ills and Aches," "The Three R's," "Early Grist Mills," "Hunting Tales," "Fights and Shooting Matches," "The First County Fairs," "Driving Hogs to the River," and "How I Met Your Grandmother."

Frontier Indiana (A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier)

By Reverend Andrew R. L. Cayton

Indiana University Press
Released: 1998-08-22
Paperback (360 pages)

Frontier Indiana (A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier)
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Frontier Indiana

Andrew R. L. Cayton

"The research and scholarship that went into the work are excellent; so good, in fact, that the book should be on the required text list for all Transappalachian frontier courses." ―History

Cayton’s lively new history of the frontier period in Indiana puts the focus on people, on how they lived, how they viewed their world, and what motivated them. Here are the stories of Sieur de Vincennes, John Francis Hamtramck, Little Turtle, Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison, Tenskwatawa, Calvin Fletcher―along with many more familiar (and not so familiar) early Hoosiers.

Sales territory is worldwide
A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier
1996; 360 pages, 20 b&w photos, 2 maps, index, 6 x 9
cloth 0-253-33048-3 $39.95 L / £28.50
paper 0-253-21217-0 $18.95 t / £13.50

Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations

By Jessica Nunemaker

Quarry Books
Paperback (324 pages)

Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations
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Where was James Dean’s hometown? What do A. J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, and Al Unser have in common besides winning the Indianapolis 500? Where was the world’s first theme park? Find these answers and more in Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations. Featuring towns of 15,000 or fewer inhabitants, Little Indiana explores where to eat, stay, play, and shop in over 90 small towns. After six years of traveling the state in search of amazing local experiences, blogger and TV host Jessica Nunemaker shares a treasure trove of what to expect in Hoosier small towns. Perfect for any length of excursion―day or weekend―the book is organized by region and town and provides travelers easy access to information found nowhere else. From wineries to antique shops, alpaca farms to chocolate stores, unique attractions are awaiting discovery. Full-color images showcase specialty stores, mouth-watering meals, and exciting attractions tucked off the beaten path. Proof that there’s always something to do in a small town, this book is the perfect way to kick-start your next Indiana adventure!

Indiana at 200: A Celebration of the Hoosier State

By Indiana Bicentennial Commission

M.T. Publishing
Hardcover (248 pages)

Indiana at 200: A Celebration of the Hoosier State
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This is the official bicentennial book for the State of Indiana.

Indiana at 200: A Celebration of the Hoosier State is a patchwork quilt of images, prose and poetry commemorating our bicentennial. Incorporating a wide variety of Hoosier voices individual, yet bound together by a common Hoosier heritage this book reflects the thoughts of business and community leaders, artists, athletes, writers, farmers, religious leaders, children and poets. These voices, along with many of the more than 6,000 photos submitted by amateur and professional photographers throughout the state, present a picture of who we are as Hoosiers, as well as our dreams and aspirations.

The limited edition 248-page coffee table book includes an introduction and 14 chapters, each opening with a short essay by a noted Hoosier, followed by photographs; quotes and anecdotes from Hoosiers of diverse ages, backgrounds and experiences. Sidebars that highlight unique and surprising facts about Indiana and its 92 counties are also incorporated. The book has a full color printed hardbound cover and matching dust jacket.

Birds of Indiana Field Guide

By Stan Tekiela

Adventure Publications Inc.
Paperback (292 pages)

Birds of Indiana Field Guide
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Product Description:
Make bird watching in Indiana even more enjoyable! With Stan Tekiela's famous field guide, bird identification is simple and informative. There's no need to look through dozens of photos of birds that don't live in Indiana. This book features 112 species of Indiana birds, organized by color for ease of use. Do you see a yellow bird and don't know what it is? Go to the yellow section to find out. Fact-filled information, a compare feature, range maps and detailed photographs help to ensure that you positively identify the birds that you see.

Weird Indiana: Your Travel Guide to Indiana's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

By Mark Marimen & Troy Taylor

Hardcover (256 pages)

Weird Indiana: Your Travel Guide to Indiana s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
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Weird Indiana is here to prove that the Crossroads of America, as our state motto claims, is also the Crossroads of the Weird! There's such an abundance of weirdness here that it took three authors to showcase all the odd and offbeat wonders the Hoosier State has to offer. Our authors, Mark Marimen, Jim Willis, and Troy Taylor, set off with cameras and notepads in hand, in search of Indiana's best kept secrets, local legends, bizarre beasts, and more, and they found it--in spades! Sit back and enjoy a relaxing picnic in Shades of Death Park; see the light if you're lucky enough to witness those unexplained glowing spots known as Moody's Light. Find out how a town named Santa Claus became involved in one of the fiercest rivalries in the state's history. Slap on another layer of color to the world's biggest ball of paint, and no, you're not seeing things--that really is an enormous pink-spectacled elephant drinking a martini on the side of the road! Get the time from an enormous leg sundial, and listen for the whistle of terror on the White Lick Creek Bridge, but whatever you do, don't answer an ad from La Porte's Black Widow. Make a person-to-person call from inside a tomb, and meet Indiana's most upright citizen, buried that way for almost two hundred years. Check out the ruins of Littleville, where 125 miniature buildings once stood--complete with a courthouse, and even a yacht club, all of eighteen inches tall. Yes, there certainly is more to Indiana than just cornfields! A brand-new entry in the best-selling Weird U.S. series, Weird Indiana is packed with all that great stuff your history teacher wouldn't teach you. So join our authors on their great adventure. It's a journeyyou'll never forget.

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