From the Mound Builders to Tippecanoe

The Mound Builders were Indiana’s earliest known inhabitants, and the remains of their culture have been found along Indiana’s rivers and bottomlands. The region was first explored by Europeans, notably the French, in the late 17th cent. The leading French explorer was Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, who came to the area in 1679. At the time of exploration, the area was occupied mainly by Native American groups of the Miami, Delaware, and Potawatamie descents. Vincennes, the first permanent settlement, was fortified in 1732, but for the first half of the 1700s, most of the settlers in the area were Jesuit missionaries or fur traders.

By the Treaty of Paris of 1763 ending the French and Indian Wars, Indiana, then part of the area known as the Old Northwest, passed from French to British control. Along with the rest of the Old Northwest, Indiana was united with Canada under the Quebec Act of 1774. During the American Revolution an expedition led by George Rogers Clark captured, lost, and then recaptured Vincennes from the British. By the Treaty of Paris of 1783 ending the Revolutionary War, Great Britain ceded the Old Northwest to the United States.

Indiana was still largely unsettled when the Northwest Territory, of which it formed a part, was established in 1787. Native Americans in the territory resisted settlement, but Gen. Anthony Wayne’s victory at Fallen Timbers in 1794 effectively ended Native American resistance in the Old Northwest. U.S. forces led by Gen. William Henry Harrison also defeated the Native American forces in the battle of Tippecanoe (1811) in the Wabash country..

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