Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States.
As of November 2018, the population of Oklahoma was estimated to be about 4 million people. It is the 28th most populous state in the United States.
Oklahoma is the 20th largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 181,040 square kilometers (69,899 square miles).
Oklahoma City often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City was settled on April 22, 1889, when the area known as the “Unassigned Lands” was opened for settlement in an event known as “The Land Run”.
Oklahoma is a land of flat, fertile plains and low hills. Oil and natural gas wells can be seen thoughout much of the state. Oklahoma’s plains also host large herds of cattle and vast wheat fields.
Forests cover 24 percent of Oklahoma, and prairie grasslands, composed of shortgrass, mixed-grass, and tallgrass prairie, harbor expansive ecosystems in the state’s central and western portions.
Its highest and lowest points follow this trend, with its highest peak, Black Mesa [photo below], at 1,516 meters (4,973 feet) above sea level, situated near its far northwest corner in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The state’s lowest point is on the Little River near its far southeastern boundary near the town of Idabel, Oklahoma, which dips to 88 meters (289 feet) above sea level.
Oklahoma has 3 national parks and 51 state parks.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains in south-central Oklahoma. It includes the former Platt National Park and Arbuckle Recreation District. The area was established as Sulphur Springs Reservation on July 1, 1902; renamed and redesignated Platt National Park on June 29, 1906; combined with the Arbuckle Recreation Area and additional lands and renamed and redesignated on 17 March 1976.
Turner Falls, at 23 meters (77 feet), is locally considered Oklahoma’s tallest waterfall, although its height matches one in Natural Falls State Park. The falls are located on Honey Creek in the Arbuckle Mountains in south central Oklahoma, 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of Davis.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. The memorial is located in downtown Oklahoma City on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was destroyed in the 1995 bombing.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is a zoo and botanical garden located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District in northeast Oklahoma City. The zoo covers 119 acres (48 ha) and is home to more than 1,900 animals. It is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
WinStar World Casino and Resort is a hotel and casino located near the state line with Texas. The casino opened as the WinStar Casinos in 2004, and was expanded (with a 395-room hotel tower) and renamed WinStar World Casino in 2009, with its 56,000 square meters (600,000 square feet) of casino floor making it the world’s second largest casino. WinStar has over 7,400 electronic games, a 55-table poker room, 99 total table games, Racer’s off-track betting, High Limit Room, keno, and bingo.
The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a 7-hectare (17-acre) botanical garden and interactive urban park located in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on the southwest corner of Reno and Robinson. The Gardens is home to multiple tiers of densely landscaped areas that surround a sunken lake. Its primary feature is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory – a 224-foot (68 m) living plantmuseum featuring towering palm trees, tropical plants and flowers, waterfalls, and exotic animals.
The full stretch of Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, but the longest run of miles cuts diagonally through the state of Oklahoma. This OK length begins in the northeastern corner of the state and travels through Tulsa and Oklahoma City before crossing the border into Texas. Roadside attractions in Oklahoma range from the historical, such as Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton and National Route 66 and Transportation Museum in Elk City, to the odd, like the Blue Whale of Catoosa or Golden Driller in Tulsa.
The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase okla humma, literally meaning red people.
Areas of Oklahoma east of its panhandle were acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, while the Panhandle was not acquired until the U.S. land acquisitions following the Mexican–American War.
In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which forced the Eastern Woodlands Indian tribes off of their homelands and into Indian Territory. By 1840, nearly 100,000 Indians had been evicted and close to 15,000 had died of disease, exposure to elements or malnutrition along the journey, which became known as the “Trail of Tears.”
Oklahoma is 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 dramatically 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.
Today, Oklahoma is home to thirty-nine federally-recognized American Indian tribes.
During the course of the day on June 8, 1974, Oklahoma City was struck by five different tornadoes. Between 1890 and 2011, the city, which is located near the heart of “tornado alley,” was hit by a total of 147 tornadoes.
Oklahoma’s state capitol building is the only capitol with an oil well directly underneath it.
The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Carl C. Magee, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is generally credited with originating the parking meter. He filed for a patent for a “coin controlled parking meter” on May 13, 1935.
Boise City, Oklahoma was the only city in the United States to be bombed during World War II.
Oklahoma is one of only two states whose capital cities name includes the state name. The other is Indianapolis, Indiana.