The Making of the 50 States: Indiana

• Part 2: The Rest of the Story

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The Making of the 50 States
The 13 American Colonies
Clickable map of the 13 Colonies with descriptions of each colony
American History Glossary
The First European Settlements in America
Colonial Times

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Part 1: In the Beginning

What is now Indiana has long been inhabited by humans. The Woodland culture gave way to the Mississippi Culture, one remnant of which is Angel Mounds, the site of a large medieval settlement east of what is now Evansville.

Among the Native American tribes living in the area when European explorers and settlers arrived were the Illini, Lenape, Miami, Pottawatomie, and Shawnee. Members of Delaware tribes arrived once Europeans began settling in large numbers on the Eastern Seaboard.

French explorers in Indiana

Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1679 was the first European explorer to visit what is now Indiana, claiming it in the name of his king, France's Louis XIV. A fur trade developed, and the first trading post came along in 1702. French soldiers built Fort Miami in 1715; this later became Fort Wayne. Christian missionaries and soldiers established the first permanent European settlement at Fort Vincennes. French soldiers and settlers built more forts and more settlements, in an attempt to maintain the upper hand. The arrival of British explorers and soldiers in the area led to the French and Indian War, which the British won in 1763.

Ottawa Chief Pontiac

The war didn't stop Native American resistance to European expansion. Many Native Americans, the Ottawa leader Pontiac in particular, continued to fight to keep Europeans from taking over their lands. A series of British negotiations with tribes other than the Ottawa led to the end of the struggle, when Pontiac came to a peace settlement as well.

Next page > The Rest of the Story > Page 1, 2

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David White