Introduction - OklahomaThe U.S. state of Oklahoma is located right in the middle of what is referred to as tornado alley. In fact, Oklahoma City has had more tornadoes than almost any other major city in the world. Below you will find a list of interesting facts about this state located in the Southwest region of the United States. This information will include when Oklahoma became a state, how it got its odd shape, why thousands of Oklahomans fled the state in the 1930s, and what the state nickname is. This information is written for both kids and adults.
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Oklahoma Quick Facts
- Oklahoma officially became a state on November 16, 1907.
- It was the 46th state to become part of the USA.
- The state capital of Oklahoma is Oklahoma City, which is also the largest city in the state.
- The population of Oklahoma is 3,878,051 (2014 U.S. Census Bureau).
- It is the 28th most populated state.
- At 69,898 square miles (181,195 square kilometers), it is the 20th largest state in the United States.
- Oklahoma borders Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.
- The state song is "Oklahoma".
- The state motto is "Labor omnia vincit", which is Latin for "Labor Conquers all Things".
- The state flower of Oklahoma is the Oklahoma Rose. Its scientific name is Rosa odorata.
- Residents of Oklahoma are called Oklahomans.
- The state's major rivers include the Canadian River, Arkansas River and the Red River.
- There are many lakes throughout Oklahoma, including Lake Hudson, Lake O'the Cherokees, Lake Texoma, Gibson Lake, Keystone Lake, Oologah Lake and Eufaula Lake.
- The official state nickname is the Sooner State.
Oklahoma Interesting Facts
- The state gets its name, Oklahoma; from the Choctaw Indian phrase okla humma, meaning red people.
- Oklahoma has an odd shape with a long narrow strip of land, dubbed a panhandle, extending out to the west. This strip of land was originally part of Texas. In 1845 when Texas wanted to become a U.S. state, and allow slavery, the northern region of the state extended past the latitude permitted for slavery under the Missouri Compromise. Texas gave up this strip of land leaving it with no territorial ownership; it was referred to as "No Man's Land." In 1890 this land was officially made part of the Oklahoma Territory.
- Oklahoma City is by far the largest city in this state; other large cities include Tulsa, Norman, Broken Arrow, and Lawton.
- There are ten different ecological regions within the state, ranging from forests to plains to mountains.
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area in south-central Oklahoma is the largest park in Oklahoma. The park was named Chickasaw National Recreation Area in honor of the Chickasaw Indian Nation who were forced to relocate to the area in the 1830s.
- There are four mountain ranges in Oklahoma including the Arbuckles, Wichitas, Ouachitas and the Kiamichis.
- Beloved American icon, Will Rogers, was born near Oologah, Oklahoma. He was an entertainer, cowboy, speaker, writer, philosopher, comedian and the highest paid Hollywood star of his time.
- Country singer, Garth Brooks was born and raised in Oklahoma.
- An interesting facts is that Oklahoma City and Indianapolis are the only two capital cities in the United States that have the state name included in the city name.
- With the exception of California, Oklahoma has the largest Native American population of any U.S state.
Oklahoma Historical Facts
- Several tribes inhabited what is now Oklahoma at the time the first European explorers arrived; they include the Caddo, Wichita, Quapaw, Osage, Comanche, Ute, Kiowas, Delawares, Kickapoos, and the Shawnees.
- The famous Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the region that is now Oklahoma in 1541. The Spanish did not claim the land and in the 1700s French explorers claimed the area for France.
- In 1803 the area that is now the state of Oklahoma was sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
- During the 1800s thousands of Native American Indians were forced to leave their homelands and relocate to the Southwest U.S. including the region that is now Oklahoma.
- By the year 1889 there were enough settlers in the region that is now the state of Oklahoma to form an official U.S. territory. In 1890 the Oklahoma Territory was established which lasted up until when Oklahoma became a state in 1907.
- The assignment of two million acres of unassigned land throughout Oklahoma in 1889 created what has been dubbed "The Land Rush of 1889". Settlers who lived on and improved the land were to be given free title to the land. While 50,000 people waited in line for their legitimate share, others, called sooners, sneaked in before the legal time to claim land creating controversy as to who was the rightful owner.
- On May 31st and June 1st of 1921 one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history occurred in Tulsa Oklahoma in what has been dubbed the "Tulsa Race Riot". Groups of whites attacked African-Americans mostly in the Greenwood District, which was the wealthiest black community in the United States. The Greenwood District was burned to the ground, somewhere between 39 and 300 people were killed, and over 10,000 people were left homeless.
- In the 1930s poor farming practices and a severe drought resulted in what has been called the Dust Bowl in several Southwest states including Oklahoma. This disaster resulted in thousands of Oklahomans leaving the state in search of better farming conditions.
- On April 19th, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was the target of a truck bombing. This bombing was the most destructive act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history; 168 people were killed, including children, and over 680 people injured.