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Oklahoma History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 09 March 2015 10:20 AM

Oklahoma history includes periods of unrest balanced with the strong resiliency of Oklahomans. The rich land made Oklahoma prosperous through oil production, mining and farming.

Here are eight events that helped shape the state of Oklahoma:

1. Oklahoma was originally part of land bought by the U.S. from the French during the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. According to History.com, the new territory for American expansion included areas of Louisiana to the south, Montana and North Dakota to the north and Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico to the west.

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2. Throughout much of the 1800s, U.S. officials used Oklahoma as Indian Territory following the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Nearly 100,000 Indians were moved to the area by 1840 and by 1900, more than 30 Indian tribes had been taken from their homelands to the territory.

3. In 1889, homesteading was permitted in the region, bringing some 50,000 settlers to the area. Government laws allowed land runs at particular times to claim homesteads, but some people crossed the border before the allowed times. They were given the name, "Sooners," which became the state's nickname, says History.com.

4. The area was then divided into Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory in 1890. Representatives from Indian tribes submitted a request to the government in 1905 for a separate Indian statehood. Congress rejected the request, but both territories were combined to make Oklahoma a state in 1907.

5. By the time Oklahoma became a state in 1907, it led all other states in the production of oil, producing more than 40 million barrels a year. Prospecting and drilling for oil had begun in the 1880s and 1890s. The prosperous oil production continued for the state until the Great Depression and then started to boom again in the 1960s. The boom ended when oil prices dropped in the 1980s.

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6. Oklahoma history includes racial turmoil in the turbulent 1920s. In 1921, when the Ku Klux Klan claimed nearly 100,000 members in the state, one of the most violent race riots occurred in Tulsa. The National Guard had to be called in to end it.

7. Extensive farming of the land by settlers depleted much of the state's rich soil, which contributed to the dust bowl of the 1930s. The destructive dust storms and droughts forced many Oklahomans to leave the state, many of them heading to California for work.

8. A deadly terrorist act struck Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, when a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, taking the lives of 168 people. It was the worst act of terrorism in the U.S. until the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001 for his part in the Oklahoma bombing.

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Oklahoma history includes periods of unrest balanced with the strong resiliency of Oklahomans. The rich land made Oklahoma prosperous through oil production, mining and farming.
Oklahoma History, Oklahoma City, Sooners
Monday, 09 March 2015 10:20 AM
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