|State nickname: Sooner State|
- % water
Ranked 20th |
- Total (2000)
|Admittance into Union
November 16, 1907
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
33°35'N to 37°N|
94°29'W to 103°W
355 km |
USS Oklahoma was named in honor of this state.
History Oklahoma was inhabited by Native American tribes including the Caddo[?]. Descendants of these people still live in the state. The name Oklahoma comes from the language of the Choctaw people, who came in the 1830s. "Okla" roughly means "the people" and "homa" means "red".
In the 1830s Oklahoma served as the relocation area for the policy of Indian Removal started by Andrew Jackson. The end of the Trail of Tears (Tsa La Gi) was "Indian Territory". There were already many tribes living in the territory, whites, and escaped slaves as well.
The "Five Civilized Tribes" were not the only ones forced to Oklahoma. Nations such as the Delaware, from the northeast US, Kiowa[?], Comanche, Cherokee, and others were forced to move to Oklahoma. Descendants of these people still live in Oklahoma today. Counties with the names of these tribes also exist.
The five civilized tribes set up towns such as Tulsa, Tahlequah, and Muskogee, which became some of the larger towns in the state. They also brought their African slaves to Oklahoma, which added to African-American population in the region.
During the American Civil War many tribes were internally split between Confederates and Yankees. There were several battles fought in Oklahoma. After the war, the federal government severely punished the tribes for joining the Confederacy.
Furthermore the practice of slavery was outlawed. Some nations were integrated racially and otherwise with their slaves, but other nations were extremely hostile to the former slaves and wanted them exiled from their territory.
In 1889, the Federal government took back much of the land it had given to the Indians and on March 23 of that year, President Benjamin Harrison signed legislation by the the United States Congress which would open up 2 million acres for white settlement starting on April 22 (it was previously open only to Native Americans who were forced to leave their homelands), and the first of a number of land runs[?] began. Some of the state's settlers were called "Sooners" because they had already staked their land claims before the land was officially opened for settlement. In 1907, Oklahoma became the 47th state in the Union.
In the early 1900s the oil business began to get underway. Huge pools of underground oil were discovered in places like "Glennpool". Many whites flooded into the state to make money. Many of the 'old money' elite families of Oklahoma can date their rise to this time. The prosperity of the 1920s can be seen in the surviving architecture from the period, including one which was converted into the Philbrook Museum[?].
During the height of the Great Depression, drought and non-ecologically-friendly agricultural practices led to the Dust Bowl, when large tracts of arable land were blown away in massive dust storms. This forced many small farmers to flee the state altogether. This migration is chronicled in "The Grapes of Wrath", by John Steinbeck, and also in photographs by Dorothea Lange. The negative images of the "Okie" as a sort of rootless migrant laborer living in a near-animal state of scrounging for food greatly offended many native Oklahomans. Some politicians of Oklahoma denounced the book (often without reading it) as an attempt to impugn the morals and character of the people of Oklahoma.
For Oklahoma, the early 1900s were also somewhat turbulent politically. Many different groups had flooded into the state and were trying to figure out how to live. There were also "black towns", in which blacks tried to make a life of their own, separate from whites. The white towns were also segregated. Northern Tulsa was known as Black Wall Street[?] because of the vibrant business, cultural, and religious community that had sprung up there. The Industrial Workers of the World did try to get a little headway, but didn't make it very far. The Ku Klux Klan was also active, denouncing Blacks, Catholics, and Jews. There were several race riots, including the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the worst race riots in American history.
Tensions between whites and Indians seem to have been less violent in the 20th century. The various government sponsored arts, community, and tourism programs emphasize Oklahoma's Native American heritage heavily.
Oklahoma is bounded on the north by Kansas and Colorado, on the west and south by New Mexico and Texas (with part of the Texas border delineated by the Red River (of the South)[?], and on the east by Missouri and Arkansas. Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city. As of 2000, the population is 3,450,654.
Oklahoma is a major fuel and food-producing state. Thousands of oil and natural gas wells dot the Oklahoma landscape. Millions of white-faced beef cattle graze on Oklahoma's flat plain and low hills. Fertile fields produce vast crops of wheat. Its 1999 total gross state product was $86 billion, placing it 29th in the nation. Its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $23,517, 43rd in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, wheat, milk, poultry, and cotton. Its industrial outputs are transportation equipment, machinery, electric products, rubber and plastic products, and food processing.
As of the 2000 census, the population of Oklahoma is 3,450,654. Its population grew 9.7% (305,078) from its 1990 levels. According to the 2000 census, 76.2% (2,628,434) identified themselves as White, 5.2% (179,304) as Hispanic or Latino, 7.6% (260,968) as black, 1.4% (46,767) as Asian, 7.9% (273,230) as American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.1% (2,372) as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 2.4% (82,898) as other, and 4.5% (155,985) identified themselves as belonging to two or more races.
6.8% of its population were reported as under 5, 25.9% under 18, and 13.2% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.9% of the population.