While the world said Happy New Year on Jan. 1, 2021, we also are saying happy birthday to the state of Indiana. It was 205 years ago when a seemingly random series of events, including a famous war, led to the creation of our home state.
In 1811, the Indiana Territory was ready for statehood. Represented in Congress by Jonathan Jennings — a New Jersey native who traveled to Indiana via the Ohio River — since 1809, the territory began the petition process for statehood.
But the road to statehood quickly became a dead end when the War of 1812 broke out between America and Great Britain’s powerhouse navy. By the end of the conflict, it was clear the young country needed to unite more than ever, and our state was the answer!
A census ordered by Congress revealed that 63,000 adults lived in the Indiana Territory at the time, well above the population requirements for statehood. This information, combined with Johnathan Jennings formal petition for an enabling act (legal procedures for becoming a state), lead Congress to draw new borders and write a state constitution.
In 1816, the Indiana Enabling Act passed and the Hoosier State was set on the path to become the place we know and love today. While the history of Indiana is fascinating, we are even more excited to see how the state and its residents continue to grow and change in 2021 and beyond!