World History

Oklahoma State History – Native American, Land Rush, Oil Boom

Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived in Oklahoma, Native American tribes lived throughout the country. These tribes included the Ute, Comanche, Osage, Quapaw, Wichita, and Caddo. The Caddo and Wichita tribes lived in the southern part of the state and shared similar customs and histories.

The Quapaw and Osage lived in the eastern part of the state and spoke similar languages. They grew corn and hunted buffaloes. The Comanche and Utes were pure hunter-gatherers, subsisting primarily on water buffalo. They followed a herd of water buffaloes and lived in mobile homes called tipis.

Information about Oklahoma State:

Capital Oklahoma City
Population 3,959,346 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Broken Arrow, Lawton, Edmond
Borders  Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $243,350.4 million (2023 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including grains, cattle, dairy products, and cotton
Natural gas, oil, petroleum products, machinery, aircraft parts, electronic equipment, and food products

Flag of Oklahoma State:

Europeans Arrive

The first European to reach Oklahoma was the Spanish explorer Francisco Vazquez de he Coronado in 1541. Like most Spanish explorers, he was looking for gold, but found none in Oklahoma. More than 100 years later, French explorer Robert de La Salle arrived. He claimed land for the French, who established fur trading posts along the rivers in the area.

Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States purchased a large tract of land west of the Mississippi from France for her $15 million. This was called the “Louisiana Purchase” and included Oklahoma. Explorers such as Zebulon Pike and Captain Richard Sparks were sent by President Thomas Jefferson to map the new area. In 1819 Oklahoma became part of the Arkansas Territory.

Oklahoma State Symbols

  • Oklahoma State Nickname:Sooner State
  • Oklahoma State Slogan:Native America; also on its license plate
  • Oklahoma State Motto:Labor omnia vincit (Labor conquers all things)
  • Oklahoma State flower:Oklahoma Rose
  • Oklahoma State bird:Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Oklahoma State fish: White bass
  • Oklahoma State tree: Redbud
  • Oklahoma State mammal: Bison, Common Raccoon
  • Oklahoma State foods: Barbecued Pork, Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy, Grits, Fried Okra, Pecan Pie

Indian Territory and the Trail of Tears

In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, requiring Indian tribes in the Southeast to abandon their lands and move west. Oklahoma was designated as Indian territory. Many tribes migrated to the new area, including the Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole, Choctaw, and Cherokee.

Some tribes were forced to march into new territories under harsh conditions. When the Cherokees were forced to march from the southeast into Oklahoma in 1838, about 4,000 Cherokees died along the way. Today, this march is called the “Trail of Tears”.

Oklahoma Land Rush by Unknown

After the Civil War, Oklahoma became part of the frontier of America. Ranchers used Native American land to graze cattle. It was a country of cowboys and Indians.

In the late 19th century, much of Oklahoma was uninhabited. The United States had promised the Native American tribes that the land was theirs, but they decided to let settlers on it. In 1889 he opened most of his 2 million hectares to the public. The settlers had to wait at the border and take the land “on the fly” when the guns were fired. Some tricked and sneaked in early. These people were called “Sooners” and gave the state its nickname.

The Geography of Oklahoma State:

  • Total Size of Oklahoma: 68,667 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Oklahoma: Little River at 289 feet, located in the county/subdivision of McCurtain (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Oklahoma: Black Mesa at 4,973 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Cimarron (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Oklahoma: Located in Oklahoma County approx. 8 miles north of Oklahoma City (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Oklahoma: 77 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Oklahoma: Lake Texoma, Eufaula Lake, Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Red River, Arkansas River, Canadian River

Becoming a State

In 1890 Oklahoma was divided into Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. Indian leaders wanted to establish their own state called Sequoia. They applied for statehood in 1905.

However, Congress rejected their request and instead reunited Oklahoma into a single state. Oklahoma became her 46th state on November 6, 1907. The original capital was Guthrie. In 1910 the capital was moved to Oklahoma City.

Famous People of Oklahoma State:

Sam Walton Founder of Walmart stores
Carrie Underwood Singer and American Idol winner
Jim Thorpe Athlete and Olympic medalist
Maria Tallchief Ballet dancer
Brad Pitt Actor
Chuck Norris Actor and martial arts expert
Dr. Phil McGraw Talk show host
Reba McEntire Country music singer
Mickey Mantle Professional baseball player
Toby Keith Country music singer and songwriter
Ron Howard Actor and movie director
Vince Gill Country music singer and songwriter
Johnny Bench Professional baseball player

Interesting Facts of Oklahoma State:

Oklahoma has the largest Native American population of any state.

The name Oklahoma means “red man”.

Cimarron County, Oklahoma borders her five states. More states than any other US state.

Parking meters were invented in Oklahoma. The Sooner state got its name from people who sneaked into Oklahoma and tried to claim land claims “earlier” than they were allowed to.

Oklahoma! It’s the name of a famous 1943 musical.

Many Native American tribes were forced to emigrate to Oklahoma, including the Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek.

The first shopping cart was invented by Sylvain Goldman, owner of the supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly.

The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum are located in Oklahoma City. The Cherokee tribal capital is at Talequa.

Timeline Overview:

1541 – Spanish explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado becomes the first European to arrive.
1682 – Robert de La Salle claims Oklahoma for France.
1803 – Oklahoma becomes part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase.
1819 – Oklahoma becomes part of the Arkansas Territory.
1830 – Congress passes the Indian Removal Act.
1835-1838 – Many Native American tribes were forced to migrate from the Southeast to Oklahoma.
1866 – Slavery is abolished.
1889 – Most of Oklahoma is opened to hostel residents.
1897 – First oil well drilled in Oklahoma.
1905 – A Native American tribe proposes the creation of an all-Native American nation called Sequoia.
1907 – Oklahoma becomes the 46th state.
1910 – Capital moves from Guthrie to Oklahoma City.
1930 – A severe drought begins over much of the Great Plains, creating the Dust Bowl. Many people will leave Oklahoma and migrate west in the next few years.
1995 – Oklahoma City bombings occur, with terrorists blowing up government buildings, killing 168 people.