The State of Indiana is the 19th U.S. state and is located in the midwestern region of the United States of America. With about 6.3 million residents, it is ranked 14th in population and 17th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area.
Indiana is a diverse state with a few large urban areas and a number of smaller industrial cities. It is known for the Indianapolis 500 automobile race, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend, and a strong basketball tradition, often called Hoosier Hysteria.
Residents of Indiana are called Hoosiers. There are several ideas about the origin of the name. Linguists have traced it to England, where in one dialect it meant "farmer." Others have traced it to the Indiana workers who crossed the Ohio River to work for Sam Hoosier during construction of the Louisville and Portland Canal; these workers were known as "Hoosier's Men." Another story told to Indiana youths is that in the early 1800s, bar fights would break out in Indiana saloons, with many a man losing an ear. Someone would pick it up and ask "Whose ear?", which somehow evolved into Hoosier.
The state's name means "Land of the Indians" and Angel Mounds State Historic Site, one of the best preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the United States, can be found in southern Indiana near Evansville.
Indiana has a long history with auto racing. Indianapolis hosts the Indianapolis 500 mile race over Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every May. The name of the race is usually shortened to "Indy 500" and also goes by the nickname, "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing". The race attracts over 250,000 people every year. The track also hosts the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (NASCAR) and the United States Grand Prix (Formula One).
Indiana also has a rich basketball heritage that reaches back to the formative years of the sport itself. Although James Naismith invented basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891, Indiana is where high school basketball was born. In 1925, Naismith visited an Indiana basketball state finals game along with 15,000 screaming fans and later wrote "Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport." The 1986 film Hoosiers is based on the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions Milan High School.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org
Photos Courtesy of Indiana Office of Tourism Development