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Indiana, state of the north-central United States; bordered by Michigan and Lake Michigan (north), Ohio (east), Kentucky (south), and Illinois (west).

Land and climate

Indiana's Great Lakes Plains are characterized by rich, black soils and many small lakes, the result of Ice Age glaciers. Along the state's Lake Michigan shorelines lie great sand dunes. The Till Plains of central Indiana are a part of the Midwestern Corn Belt. The southern third of the state, not reached by the glaciers, is marked by gorges and steep hills called knobs. The Wabash River and its many tributaries drain about two-thirds of the state. Indiana has a humid, continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters. Principal cities are Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Gary.


Steel and other metal production are Indiana's principal industries. Other industries produce transportation and electrical equipment and chemicals. About three-quarters of Indiana is covered by farmland. The state is a leading producer of corn, soybeans, and hogs. Bituminous coal is the state's most important mineral, and about two-thirds of the nation's limestone comes from Indiana.


Indiana is governed by the constitution of 1851. The governor serves a 4-year term. The General Assembly is composed of 50 senators serving 4-year terms and 100 representatives serving 2-year terms. Indiana sends 10 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress.


Indiana's earliest known inhabitants were the prehistoric Mound Builders. The area was occupied mainly by the Miami tribe when French fur traders explored it in the 17th century. After the French and Indian Wars, the area passed to the British (1763) and, after the American Revolution, to the United States. The region became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787, and in 1800 the Indiana Territory was created. Native American resistance to European American settlement ended after the battles of Fallen Timbers (1794) and Tippecanoe (1811). Indiana's automobile and steel industries grew rapidly during the late 19th and 20th centuries, but in recent years the state has been hard hit by the general decline in industry in the Midwest.



Additional topics

21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Humber, River to Indus Valley civilization