The land which has become the state of Indiana, was once occupied by paleoindians 10-12 thousand years ago. Historic American Indian tribes also lived on this land, inspiring the state's name - Indiana, the land of Indians.
Settlers from the British colonies on the American east coast began migrating west in the mid 1700s, seeking farmland. The American Revolution and the formation of the United States of America brought more demand for the lands of the west.
Early Indiana settlers had a great concern to preserve religious freedom, and many denominations have been cultivated here and contribute much to the makeup of Indiana life. Today, over 7000 churches can be identified serving about half of the current population.
Residents from even all walks of life have preserved their history and traditions through museums, libraries, archives, and publications. There are currently over 370 museums in Indiana which focus on a variety of subjects. There are more than 2,900 libraries throughout the schools, public, academic, institutional, and specialized. In the early twentieth century, Indiana received more Carnegie Libraries than any other state, totaling 164.
Indiana has also had it's share of successful writers. Studies have determined that the best-selling fiction by Indiana authors is ranked second only to New York authors in the period of 1895 to 1965.
Indiana's natural heritage has benefited from private and public attention over the years. In 1916, Indiana began its state park system under Richard Lieber, who became a leader in the national conservation movement. Indiana has 12 state forests, 9 reservoirs, 151 nature preserves, and 18 fish and wildlife areas to preserve its natural heritage. Private organizations help to preserve many natural areas in Indiana. There are 4 national areas designated for their special importance. Such areas are also important for recreation for Hoosiers and tourists.
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