The first residents in what is now Indiana were the Paleo-Indians, ingressing about 8000 BC after the melting of the glaciers at the conclusion of the Ice Age. Divided into small groups, the Paleo-Indians were nomads who hunted large game such as Mastodons. They created stone tools made out of chert by chipping, knapping and flaking. The subsequent phase of Indiana's Native American antiquity is called the Archaic period, which occurred between 5000 and 4000 BC. They differed from the Paleo-Indians in that they used new tools and techniques to prepare food. Such new tools included different types of spear points and knives, with various forms of notches. They also used ground stone tools such as stone axes, woodworking tools and grinding stones. During the latter part of the period, mounds and middens were created, indicating that their settlements were becoming more permanent. The Archaic period ended at about 1500 BC, although some Archaic people lived until 700 BC. Afterwards, the Woodland period took place in Indiana, where various new cultural attributes appeared. During this period, ceramics and pottery were created as well as the increase of usage in horticulture. An early Woodland period group named the Adena people had elegant burial rituals, featuring log tombs beneath earth mounds. In the middle portion of the Woodland period, the Hopewell people began exploration of long-range trade of goods. Nearing the end of the stage, an exhaustive cultivation and adaptation of agriculture to grow crops such as corn and squash. The Woodland period ended around 1000 AD. The incoming period afterwards was known as the Mississippian period, which lasted from 1000 until the 15th century, shortly befoe the arrival of Europeans. During this stage, large settlements were created that had similarities to towns, such as the Angel Mounds. They had large public areas such as plazas and platform mounds, where instrumental individuals of the settlement lived or conducted rituals. Mississippian civilization collapsed in Indiana during the mid-1400s for reasons that remain unclear.
French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was the first European to cross into Indiana after reaching present-day South Bend at the Saint Joseph River in 1679. He returned the following year to gain knowledge of northern Indiana. Canadian fur traders also came along and brought blankets, jewelry, tools, whiskey and weapons to trade for skins with the Native Americans. By 1702, the first trading post was established by Sieur Juchereau near Vincennes. In 1715, Sieur de Vincennes built Fort Miami at Kekionga, now Fort Wayne. In 1717, another Canadian, Picote de Beletre, built Fort Ouiatenon on the Wabash River, with the efforts to control Native American trade routes from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River. In 1732, Sieur de Vincennes built a second fur trading post at Vincennes. Canadian settlers, which had left the earlier post because of hostilities, came back in larger numbers. In a period of a few years however, the British arrived and contended against the Canadians for management of the fruitful fur trade. Fighting between the Canadians and British occurred throughout the 1750s as a result.
The Native American tribes of Indiana sided with the Canadians during the French and Indian War. By the conclusion of the war in 1763, the French had lost all land west of the colonies, and control had been ceded to the British crown. Neighboring tribes in Indiana, however, did not give up and destroyed Fort Ouiatenon and Fort Miami during Pontiac's Rebellion. The royal proclamation of 1763 ceded the land west of the Appalachians for Indian use, and was thus labeled Indian territory. In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began as the colonists looked to free themselves from British rule. The majority of the fighting took place in the east, but military officer George Rogers Clark called for an army to help fight the British in the west. Clark's army won significant battles to overtake Vincennes and Fort Sackville on February 25, 1779. During the war, Clark managed to cut off British troops who were attacking the colonist from the west. His success is often credited for changing the course of the American Revolutionary War. At the end of the revolutionary war, through the treaty of Paris, the British crown ceded their claims to the land south of the Great Lakes to the newly formed United States.
Present-day Indiana became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787. In 1800, Ohio was separated from the Northwest Territory by Congress, designating the rest of the land as the Indiana Territory. President Thomas Jefferson chose William Henry Harrison as the governor of the territory and Vincennes was established as the capital. After Michigan was separated and the Illinois Territory was formed, the size of Indiana was reduced to its current state. In 1810, Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa encouraged other tribes to resist European settlement into the territory. Tensions rose and Harrison was authorized to launch a preemptive expedition against Tecumseh's Confederacy resulting in a US victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811. Tecumseh was killed in 1813 during the Battle of Thames. After his death, armed resistance to United States control ended in the region. Most Native Americans in the state were later removed through negotiations to purchase their lands in the 1820s and 1830s.
In December 1813, Corydon became the second capital of the Indiana Territory. Two years later, a petition for statehood was approved by the territorial general assembly and sent to Congress. Afterwards, an Enabling Act was passed to provide an election of delegates to write a constitution for Indiana. On June 10, 1816, delegates assembled at Corydon to write the constitution, which was completed in nineteen days. President James Madison approved Indiana's admission into the union as the nineteenth state on December 11, 1816. In 1825, the state capital was moved from Corydon to Indianapolis and 26 years later, a second constitution was adopted. Following statehood, the new government set out on an ambitious plan to transform Indiana from a wilderness frontier into a developed, well-populated, and thriving state, beginning significant demographic and economic changes. The state's founders initiated a program that led to the construction of roads, canals, railroads and state-funded public schools. The plans bankrupted the state and were a financial disaster, but increased land and produce value more than fourfold. The early nineteenth century saw much immigration to Indiana. The largest immigrant group to settle in Indiana were Germans, though there were also substantial numbers of immigrants from Ireland and England as well as Americans who were ethnically English from regions such as New York, New England and Pennsylvania.
During the American Civil War, Indiana became politically influential and played an important role in the affairs of the nation. As the first western state to mobilize for the war, Indiana's soldiers were present in all of the major engagements during the war. Indiana residents were present in both the first and last battles and the state provided 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery and 13 regiments of cavalry to the cause of the Union. In 1861, Indiana was assigned a quota of 7,500 men to join the Union Army. So many volunteered in the first call that thousands had to be turned away. Before the war ended, Indiana contributed 208,367 men to fight and serve in the war. Casualties were over 35% among these men: 24,416 lost their lives in the conflict and over 50,000 more were wounded. The only Civil War battle fought in Indiana was the Battle of Corydon, which occurred during Morgan's Raid. The battle left 15 dead, 40 wounded, and 355 captured.
Following the American Civil War, Indiana industry began to grow at an accelerated rate across the northern part of the state leading to the formation of labor unions and suffrage movements. The Indiana Gas Boom led to rapid industrialization during the late 19th century by providing cheap fuel to the region. In the early 20th century, Indiana developed into a strong manufacturing state with strong ties to the auto industry. Haynes-Apperson, the nation's first commercially successful auto company operated in Kokomo until 1925. The state also saw many developments with the construction of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the start many other auto industries. During the 1930s, Indiana, like the rest of the nation, was affected by the Great Depression. The economic downturn had a wide-ranging negative impact on Indiana, such as the decline of urbanization. The situation was aggravated by the Dust Bowl, which caused an influx of migrants from the rural Midwestern United States. Governor Paul V. McNutt's administration struggled to build a state-funded welfare system to help the overwhelmed private charities. During his administration, spending and taxes were both cut drastically in response to the depression and the state government was completely reorganized. McNutt also ended Prohibition in the state and enacted the state's first income tax. On several occasions, he declared martial law to put an end to worker strikes. World War II helped lift the economy in Indiana, as the war required steel, food and other goods that were produced in Indiana. Roughly 10 percent of Indiana's population joined the armed forces while hundreds of industries earned war production contracts and began making war material. The effects of the war helped end the Great Depression.
With the conclusion of World War II, Indiana rebounded to levels of production prior to the Great Depression. Industry became the primary employer, a trend that continued into the 1960s. Urbanization during the 1950s and 1960s led to substantial growth in the state's urban centers. The auto, steel and pharmaceutical industries topped Indiana's major businesses. Indiana's population continued to grow during the years after the war, exceeding five million by the 1970 census. In the 1960s, the administration of Matthew E. Welsh adopted its first sales tax of two percent. Indiana schools had been desegregated in 1949. Welsh also worked with the General Assembly to pass the Indiana Civil Rights Bill, granting equal protection to minorities in seeking employment. Beginning in 1970, a series of amendments to the state constitution were proposed. With adoption, the Indiana Court of Appeals was created and the procedure of appointing justices on the courts was adjusted. The 1973 oil crisis created a recession that hurt the automotive industry in Indiana. Companies like Delco Electronics and Delphi began a long series of downsizing that contributed to high unemployment rates in manufacturing in Anderson, Muncie, and Kokomo. The deindustrialization trend continued until the 1980s when the national and state economy began to diversify and recover.