Counties and Regions: Indiana has 92 counties split over two time zones, most of which observe Eastern Time but a few of which observe Central Time. These are the more general regions of Indiana:
- Chicago Metropolitan Area (Northwest Indiana)
- East Central Indiana
- Indianapolis Metropolitan Area
- Michiana (near Michigan)
- Northern Indiana
- Southern Indiana
- Southwestern Indiana
- Wabash Valley
Population: Indiana, with almost 6.5 million people, has a great many citizens for its size. This ranks it in 15th place for population density in the country.
Major Cities: Indiana’s capital, Indianapolis, is also its largest city with close to 830,000 people (and more than a million in its metropolitan area). Other large cities include Fort Wayne and Evansville, although some cities, like Gary, have been losing population in the current recession. A significant chunk of Chicago’s suburbs also expand into Indiana.
Story Behind the Name: Indiana literally means “land of the Indians,” as it was once promised to be reserved for Native American use. This was not to be, however, and the area was eventually appropriated by other groups.
History and Colonization: Humans have populated what is now Indiana as far back as the last Ice Age.
Originally, Indiana was part of a huge piece of land called the Northwest Territory. It was originally agreed that many of these western lands would remain under Native American control, but immigrants from the East Coast and the American South slowly began to settle the region anyway. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the U.S. government engaged in military campaigns in Indiana in an attempt to drive out the natives. Several battles were fought in the state, but the natives were not to prevail. Most modern-day residents of Indiana are descended from the many European immigrants that settled there.
Indiana mobilized for the American Civil War, providing a large number of troops and supplies to the Union side of the battle. This was in many ways the beginning of Indiana’s industrial culture, which only grew in the twentieth century as the World Wars demanded tanks, planes, guns, and missiles. The auto industry also gained a firm foothold in Indiana as the century wore on. The blue-collar jobs market and a focus on manufacturing made Indiana one of the centers of the Labor Movement in the United States, and some of the most powerful unions and labor organizations are still to be found there.
Because of its industrial economy, Indiana has been quite vulnerable to economic depressions, including the current one. Despite this problem, the state continues to distinguish itself in the fields of education and athletics, with many of the nation’s finest colleges and most well-known sporting events being located there. As a part of the blue-collar Midwestern Rust Belt, and with great ethnic and cultural diversity from its history of immigration, Indiana is generally considered to be one of the states that forms the “Heartland of America.”
More Indiana Facts & Trivia
1) Indiana is nicknamed "The Hoosier State".
2) The capital of the state is Indianapolis and it is also the biggest city.
3) The state of Indiana forms a portion of the "Corn Belt" of the United States.
4) Indiana achieved statehood on December 11, 1816.
5) Bloomington is the hometown of David Lee Roth, a past member of the famous rock band Van Halen.
6) The neighboring states of IN are Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Illinois.
7) The official tree is the Tulip.
8) The official motto is "The Crossroads of America".
9) With an elevation of 1,257 feet, the tallest point in the state is the Hoosier Hill.
10) The official bird is the Cardinal.
11) The official flower is the Peony.
12) The official song is "On the Banks of the Wabash".
13) The official poem is "Indiana".
14) The official colors are blue and gold.
15) The major industries of the state are vehicle manufacturing, chemicals, machinery, steel manufacturing, musical instruments, publishing, and refrigerators.
16) The eminent residents of the state include Michael Jackson, James Dean, and David Letterman.
17) The state of IN is famous for containing natural resources like natural gas, bituminous coal, gemstones, petroleum, and timber.
18) The official beverage is Water.
19) The official stone is the limestone.
20) The official flag of the state was assumed in 1917.