FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Indiana’s origin has been long connected with the Native American tribes that used to inhabit the land. While many believe that Indiana went through the simple establishment to become the 19th state, it took years of territory disagreement to see the state we recognize today, while the name came simply.
Origin of the name
It is believed the name Indiana comes from the fact that the land was purchased from Native Americans. Similar to the way other states were named at the time, the name attributes back to those who were the starting point of the importance of the land. It is also believed that the name comes from Native American tribes who settled in western Pennsylvania.
History of the land
According to the Indiana Historical Bureau, in the fall of 1763 Shawnee and other tribes who were members of the Iroquois Confederacy overpowered traders on the Ohio River. These traders were members of the Philadelphia Company, a company created to monopolize the Native American trade in the region. After discovering the attack, the Philadelphia company went to Native American leaders, asking for repayment for the loss. Due to the lack of funds for repayment, the tribes utilized land to repay their debts, giving 5,000 square miles lying south of the Ohio River to the company.
This land was then later transferred to a new company known as the “Indiana Land Company,” becoming home to settlers from Virginia. An attempt to sell the land was made to the settlers, but Virginia claimed jurisdiction over the settlers and prohibited the sale of the land. It was not until 1790 when the Indiana Company insisted that if the State was determined to hold the land, compensation for the company was needed. This statement did not hold up in state court, making the Indiana Company take it to federal court later creating an amendment for the constitution that read;
“The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign State.”
While the amendment was sent out for ratification the Indiana Company lost its claim on the land to Virginia, and the company itself disappeared as well. The land became a part of Virginia losing its proclaimed Indiana name during that time. It wasn’t until 1800 when Congress divided the Northwest Territory that Indiana became a prevalent name again.
How Indiana borders became what they are today
In the early 1800s when Indiana gained its official name, it was shared with what is now known as Michigan and Illinois. Michigan did not officially become its own state until 1805 and Illinois followed in 1809.