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In 1679, Robert Cavelier a French Canadian was searching for a water route that led to the Pacific Ocean when he discovered Indiana. His discovery soon drew French fur traders to the area that established several trading posts. Several forts were also built during the 1720's before the first permanent settlement was established around 1732.
Indiana became the 19th state of the Union on December 11, 1816. Most of the farmers that purchased land from the federal government weren't required to pay taxes for a period of five years. This left the newly formed state in a financial struggle. The state turned to manufacturing and milling became the first major industry in the area.
The state has been home to several important inventions including the machine gun, the gasoline pump and the first gasoline powered automobile. Mining became a major industry and both oil and natural gas was discovered leading to the construction of one of the world's largest oil refineries in Whiting.
Soon after, United States Steel founded the city of Gary where they built their largest steel mill. The automobile and metal industries continued to expand and in 1911, the first Indianapolis 500 race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Indiana is one of the nation's leading agriculture states with the principal crop being corn. A large quantity of the limestone used in the United States comes from Indiana quarries. But, the state also produces significant amounts of cement, sand, gravel and crushed stone.
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