While a territory, Indiana had two President-appointed governors. Since statehood in 1816, it has had 47 governors, serving 49 distinct terms; Isaac P. Gray and Henry F. Schricker are the only governors to have served non-consecutive terms. The longest-serving state governors are Otis R. Bowen, Evan Bayh and Mitch Daniels at 8 years, 4 days; territorial governor William Henry Harrison served for over 12 years. The shortest-serving governor is Henry Smith Lane, who served two days before resigning to become a U.S. Senator. The current governor is Eric Holcomb, who took office on January 9, 2017 succeeding Mike Pence, who became Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2017.
The United States acquired the land that became Indiana after the American Revolutionary War. The region was originally organized as the Northwest Territory, consisting of all of the land in the United States north and west of the Ohio River. The Indiana Territory was split from the Northwest Territory in 1800.
Indiana Territory was formed on July 4, 1800, and consisted of present-day Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan and Minnesota. Michigan Territory was split from the territory on June 30, 1805, and Illinois Territory followed on March 1, 1809, leaving Indiana Territory with its final borders. From October 1, 1804, to July 4, 1805, the District of Louisiana was under the jurisdiction of Indiana Territory.
Indiana was admitted to the Union on December 11, 1816. The original 1816 Constitution of Indiana provided for the election of a governor and a lieutenant governor every three years. The second and current constitution of 1851 lengthened terms to four years and set the commencement of the governor's term on the second Monday in the January following the election. Governors were allowed to serve for four years in any eight-year period, but this was extended by a 1972 amendment permitting governors to serve for eight years in any twelve-year period. Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor becomes governor. Nine lieutenant governors have succeeded to the governorship. If the office of lieutenant governor is vacant, the president pro tempore of the Indiana Senate becomes governor; this has happened once, when James B. Ray succeeded William Hendricks.
There are four living former governors of Indiana, the oldest being Joe Kernan (served 2003–2005, born 1946). The most recent governor to die was Edgar Whitcomb (served 1969–1973, born 1917), on February 4, 2016. The most recently serving governor to die was Frank O'Bannon (served 1997–2003, born 1930), in office on September 13, 2003.