On December 11, 1816, Indiana became the 19th state to join the Union. Before it became part of the United States, it was first inhabited by native people, who had lived there for more than 15,000 years. The most well-known tribes of the land were the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Lenape, Shawnee, and Wyandot.
For many generations, the natives lived off the land. Their way of life changed in the 1600s when the French started exploring the area. Soon, the British arrived and it wasn’t long before France and Britain fought over the territory during their quest to gain control of North America. The British were victorious over the French in 1763. By this time, however, the settlers of the New World had grown unhappy with British rule and citizens came together to begin the Revolutionary War.
The battles did not stop after the Americans had gained their independence from Britain. Native Americans, who were tired of losing their land to the settlers, started uprisings. In fact, there were so many battles against the natives, the state’s name, Indiana, means “Land of the Indians.”
America’s first train robbery occurred in Indiana. On Oct. 6, 1866, the gang known as the Reno Brothers stopped a train in Jackson County and made off with $13,000.
On May 4, 1869, the first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Before they were the Cincinnati Reds, the Red Stockings played against the Great Westerns of Cincinnati – the Red Stockings won with a score of 45-9.