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10 Fast Facts About Indiana:
1/ More than 100 species of trees are native to Indiana. Before the pioneer's arrived more than 80% of Indiana was covered with forest. Now only 19.2% of the state is considered forested. The oldest living trees in Indiana are oak trees, some of which live for up to 800 years. But the vast majority of Indiana's trees are now less than a hundred years old, and only a handful of very old trees survive.
2/ The meaning of the official state flag of Indiana, which was adopted in 1917, is to symbolize enlightenment and liberty. The eighteen stars are representative of the 18 states that were in the Union when Indiana entered the Union on December 11th 1816, and the star above the torch is representative of Indiana itself.
3/ Founded in 1902, the Indianapolis Indians are the second-oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball, behind only the International League's Rochester Red Wings.
4/ The official state motto of Indiana is "The Crossroads of America", and the official state tree is the Tulip Tree. (The official Latin name for the Tulip Tree is Liriodendron)
5/ Syvanus F. Bower designed the world's first practical gasoline pump in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1886 and went on to continually refine his design over the next 40 years so that the amount of gasoline that was being pumped could be measured ever more accurately.
6/ Peru, Indiana was at one time known popularly as the "Circus Capital of the World" with over 4,000 people employed. This followed the opening of a large circus in April 1884 in the area by Ben Wallace, which became such a success, that many other Circuses around the country, such as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and Hagenback-Wallace, started beating a path to Peru's door. The depression era however finished most of them off, and in 1941 the final Ringling Brothers Circus closed its winter quarters in Peru and signaled the end of an era.
7/ The greatest Olympic swimmer to come out of Indiana University was Mark Spitz, who won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Olympic Games. A feat only surpassed by Michael Phelp's who won eight golds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. History will never know how great Spitz could have been however, because he retired from competition at the the age of only 22. He no longer swims.
8/ If you like early gangster movies then you have much to thank Richard Gatling of Indianoplis for with regard to the action scenes! In 1862, he invented the rapid-fire machine gun, which has often also been called the Gatling Gun.
9/ The first major railroad that linked together Indianapolis and Madison was completed in 1847.
10/ The 1987 Pan American Games was celebrated in Indianapolis, Indiana from the 7th August 1987 to the 23rd August 1987, and featured over 4,300 athletes from 38 countries in the Americas. The official mascot for the games was Amigo, a green parrot.