Indiana has its urban areas and its industrial cities, but for the most part, the state is comprised of rural farmland. People from Indiana refer to themselves as "Hoosiers," a word that was originally used in colonial America to denote poor farmers who didn't own slaves or large plantations. While the word is still considered derogatory in other parts of the country, the folks from Indiana wear it with pride, earning Indiana its distinction as the "Hoosier State." Indiana is perhaps best known for the Indianapolis 500, an automobile race held every Memorial Day weekend, and Hoosier Hysteria, an annual high school basketball tournament.
Claimed by France during the 17th century, this land was handed over to Britain after the French and Indian War. Britian passed it to the U.S. after the American Revolution, and it became a part of the Northwest Territory. The Indiana Territory was carved out in 1800, and Indiana became the 19th state of the U.S. in 1816. Agriculture has long played a part in Indiana's economy, and its proximity to major population centers like Chicago have made dairy farming and egg production a booming business. Indiana's massive farms also produce corn, soybeans, spearmint, peppermint, and grapes. Indiana is also known for its manufacturing centers and its massive limestone quarries and coal mines.