Oklahoma: Diverse Horizons and Rich Heritage
Known as the "Sooner State," Oklahoma's captivating story is one of resilience, transformation, and the coalescence of native traditions with the aspirations of settlers. From its Native American heritage and the Trail of Tears to the tumultuous era of the Dust Bowl and the vibrant energy of its modern cities, Oklahoma's narrative is a story of struggle, triumph and the spirit of innovation. Its sweeping plains, rolling hills and the rugged Ozark Plateau form a backdrop against which the legacies of Native American tribes, the indomitable will of pioneers and the spirit of exploration have shaped its identity. Oklahoma's vibrant cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa exude a dynamic energy, reflecting a blend of cultural influences, economic growth and a modern urban landscape.
Oklahoma Quick Facts
Oklahoma became the 46th state of the United States on November 16, 1907. There are now 733 cities, towns and CDP's in Oklahoma with Oklahoma City being the capital and also the largest city in the state with a population of 649,821 people. Oklahoma is the 20th largest state by land area with 69,898 square miles and is 1.87% water. By population, Oklahoma is the 28th largest state, with just over 4 million residents. Home to 39 federally recognized Native American tribes, Oklahoma has a rich indigenous history and culture. Oklahoma's nickname, "The Sooner State," reflects the state's history of settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands before official land openings, leading to the "Sooners" who arrived before the official start of land rushes. The iconic Route 66, also known as the "Main Street of America," runs through Oklahoma, offering a glimpse into the country's past and roadside nostalgia. Oklahoma has a strong connection to the cowboy and Western heritage, with attractions like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma is home to the very first parking meter back in 1935. The state is famous for its official state meal which consists of fried okra, cornbread, pork, squash, biscuits, corn, chicken fried steak, pecan pie and others. Famous people from Oklahoma include Brad Pitt, Garth Brooks, James Garner, Ron Howard, Olivia Munn, Bill Hader, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Chuck Norris and Vince Gill.
The History of Oklahoma
Prior to European exploration, Oklahoma was inhabited by a variety of Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. Spanish explorers arrived in the region in the 16th century, followed by French and British explorers. In the 1830s, the Indian Removal Act forced several Native American tribes to leave their ancestral lands in the southeastern United States and relocate to present-day Oklahoma. In the late 19th century, the U.S. government opened "unassigned lands" to non-Native American settlers through a series of land runs. Oklahoma was officially incorporated as a territory in 1890, known as the Indian Territory and in 1907 it was admitted as the 46th state. Agriculture played a significant role in the state's economy, with wheat and cotton being major crops. However, the early 20th century brought an economic boom with the discovery of oil and natural gas, which transformed Oklahoma into an energy hub. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s had a devastating impact on the state's agricultural sector, leading to widespread economic hardship and migration. Oklahoma was at the forefront of the civil rights movement, as African American students were among the first to integrate schools in the 1950s. Notable civil rights leaders, like Clara Luper, made significant contributions to the movement. The latter half of the 20th century saw a resurgence of Native American activism and cultural revitalization in Oklahoma. Tribes worked to preserve their languages, traditions and sovereignty.
The Geography of Oklahoma
Situated in the South Central region of the United States and bordered by Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, the state's landscape encompasses a range of natural features, from rolling plains to rugged hills, expansive forests to winding rivers. Much of western and central Oklahoma is part of the Great Plains region, characterized by vast expanses of flat or gently rolling land. This area is part of the agricultural heartland, with farmlands that support crops like wheat, soybeans and cotton. The northeastern part of the state is home to the Ozark Plateau, a region of forested hills, valleys and clear streams. Located in southwestern Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountains are a rugged range of ancient granite mountains. The Red River forms much of Oklahoma's southern border with Texas. This river valley is a mix of fertile farmland and rugged terrain. In south-central Oklahoma, the Arbuckle Mountains offer a mix of forested hills, caves and natural springs. Oklahoma features several large reservoirs, including Lake Eufaula and Lake Texoma, which offer boating, fishing and recreational activities. Oklahoma is located in the infamous "Tornado Alley," a region prone to severe weather and tornadoes due to the clash of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cooler, drier air from the Rockies.
Oklahoma Relocation Guide
Oklahoma, where the wind comes rushing down the plains. Just thinking about the amazing cities in Oklahoma brings up images of Conestoga wagons, land-thirsty settlers and roaming buffalo. But just what is modern-day Oklahoma like? Most people who live in Oklahoma either live in Tulsa or in Oklahoma City. So, if your job is relocating you to Oklahoma, you will more than likely live near one of these two cities. There are many events and attractions and great places to travel in Oklahoma. The Woolaroc museum and wildlife preserve will teach you about the history of oil in Oklahoma, animals native to the plains, and the Native American tribes of Oklahoma. Closer to the Texas border, Turner Falls is a sprawling natural swimming area with stunning waterfalls throughout.
Oklahoma has one of the fastest growing economies in the entire nation. In both per capita income growth and gross domestic product growth, the state of Oklahoma has some of the very highest rates. Oklahoma is major producer of natural gas, oil and agriculture, and most available jobs in Oklahoma will be either in these areas or in biotechnology, aviation, energy, or telecommunications. Also, cost of living is the lowest in the country in Oklahoma. Finally, Oklahoma is located right in the center of Tornado Alley, an area of the nation especially prone to severe weather. An average of 54 tornados hit the state every year.
Something to consider is that some cities in Oklahoma do have a higher than average crime rate when compared to the national average. Some of the larger cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa push the average up, but you can still find lower crime rates in other cities like Edmond and Broken Arrow.