The Oklahoma Portal
Oklahoma () is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its residents are known as Oklahomans (or colloquially, "Okies"), and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907.
With ancient mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains, Cross Timbers, and the U.S. Interior Highlands, all regions prone to severe weather. Oklahoma is on a confluence of three major American cultural regions and historically served as a route for cattle drives, a destination for Southern settlers, and a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans. More than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma.
A major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology. Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma's primary economic anchors, with nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans living within their metropolitan statistical areas.
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995 aimed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 800 injured. Until the September 11, 2001 attacks, it was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil. It remains as the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.
Just 90 minutes after the explosion, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer pulled over 27-year old Timothy McVeigh for driving without a license plate. Within days after the bombing, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both arrested for their roles in the bombing. Investigators determined that McVeigh and Nichols were sympathizers of an anti-government militia movement and that their motive was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001; Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. A third conspirator, Michael Fortier, who testified against the two conspirators, was imprisoned for failing to warn the U.S. government. As with other large-scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and point to additional perpetrators involved.
The attacks led to the U.S. government passing legislation designed to increase protection around federal buildings and to thwart future terrorist attacks. Under these measures, law enforcement has since foiled over fifty domestic terrorism plots.
On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building to commemorate the victims of the bombing. (Read more...)
Shawnee is a city in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 29,857 at the 2010 census. The city is part of the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area; it is also the county seat of Pottawatomie County and the principal city of the Shawnee Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Shawnee is the home of St. Gregory's University, a Benedictine Catholic institution founded in 1875, and Oklahoma Baptist University, founded in 1906. The city was chosen by the founders of OBU in part because two Baptist Conventions (one in Indian Territory and one in Oklahoma Territory) had earlier merged. So, the city of Shawnee was neutral territory (Shawnee had been neither in Indian Territory nor Oklahoma Territory, but the Potawatomi Nation).
The Heart of Oklahoma Exhibition Center, opened in 1981, now boasts 152,400 square feet (14,160 m2) of exhibit space, a 19,200-square-foot (1,780 m2) indoor arena that seats 1,000, an outdoor arena seating 7,500, and an RV park, all on 72 acres (290,000 m2). Since 1993, the O.E. Center has been the host of the International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR), the "richest youth rodeo in the world," with a total prize payout of over $2.6 million; over 1,100 young riders register for the event each year.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the ninth largest Native American tribe in the United States with 26,000 members, is headquartered between Shawnee and Tecumseh. Their Firelake Casino features over 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) of gaming space and employs 1,800 people. (Read more...)
Credit: Jack Dykinga
Oklahoma's state mammal, the American Bison.
Did you know...
- ...that Tulsa is often considered the birthplace of U.S. Route 66?
- ...that Oklahoma has the longest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation?
- ...that in 1927, Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery, known the "Father of Route 66," proposed using an existing stretch of highway from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa for the original portion of Highway 66?
- ...that Oklahoman Cyrus Avery spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, the organization that oversaw the planning and creation of Route 66, and he placed the organization's headquarters in Tulsa?
- Nickname:The Sooner State
- Capital and largest city: Oklahoma City
- Governor: Kevin Stitt (R)
- Total area: 181,196 square kilometers (69,960 square miles)
- Population (2010 census): 3,751,351
- Date admitted to the Union: November 16, 1907
- Senators: Jim Inhofe (R), James Lankford (R)
- Representatives: Kevin Hern, Markwayne Mullin (R), Frank Lucas (R), Tom Cole (R), Kendra Horn (D)
The Scissortail Flycatcher, Oklahoma's state bird
Charles Francis Colcord (August 18, 1859 – December 10, 1934), also known as Charlie and even Chuck by some, was a successful rancher, U.S. Marshal, Chief of Police, businessman, and pioneer of the Old West.
In 1889 the cattle market collapsed, and the Oklahoma land run was announced. On April 22, 1889 Charles made the run that day and traded his team, wagon and gear for a shack and lot. By the end of the excitement, a noisy tent city had sprung up, and Colcord was its leading citizen, with his lot becoming Lot Number 1, Block Number 1, Oklahoma City. As Oklahoma boomed he served as Chief of Police, then Oklahoma City's first Sheriff (essentially the army left what was a territory, declared it a state, and gave Charlie the stockade and a gun.) He later became a US Marshal (appointed by President Grover Cleveland), serving with Bill Tilghman. He worked hard to control a lawless, wild area, fighting Bill Doolin, Tulsa Jack, the Dalton Gang, Little Dick West, and others. He personally rounded up five members of the Dalton Gang and supervised their hanging.
When he died Oklahoma City named the Civic Center after him. His dedication to the city and his humble origins landed him in the Cowboy Hall of Fame. (Read more...)
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