|Nickname(s): Sooner State|
|Motto(s): Labor omnia vincit (Latin)|
Evidence exists that native peoples traveled through Oklahoma as early as the last ice age. Ancestors of the Wichita and Caddo lived in what is now Oklahoma. ThePanhandle culture peoples were precontact residents of the panhandle region. The westernmost center of the Mississippian culture was Spiro Mounds, in what is nowSpiro, Oklahoma, which flourished between AD 850 and 1450. SpaniardFrancisco Vásquez de Coronado traveled through the state in 1541, but French explorers claimed the area in the 1700s and it remained under French rule until 1803, when all the French territory west of the Mississippi River was purchased by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.
During the 19th century, thousands of Native Americans were expelled from their ancestral homelands from across North America and transported to the area including and surrounding present-day Oklahoma. The Choctaw was the first of the Five Civilized Tribes to be removed from the southeastern United States. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originated from a description of the removal of the ChoctawNation in 1831, although the term is usually used for the Cherokee removal.
A total of 17,000 Cherokees and 2,000 of their black slaves were deported. The area, already occupied by Osage andQuapaw tribes, was called for the Choctaw Nation until revised Native American and then later American policy redefined the boundaries to include other Native Americans. By 1890, more than 30 Native American nations and tribes had been concentrated on land within Indian Territory or "Indian Country".
Many Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate military during the American Civil War. The Cherokee Nationhad an internal civil war. Slavery in Indian Territory was not abolished until 1866.
In the period between 1866 and 1899, cattle ranches in Texas strove to meet the demands for food in eastern cities and railroads in Kansas promised to deliver in a timely manner. Cattle trails and cattle ranches developed as cowboys either drove their product north or settled illegally in Indian Territory. In 1881, four of five major cattle trails on the western frontier traveled through Indian Territory.
Increased presence of white settlers in Indian Territory prompted the United States Government to establish the Dawes Actin 1887, which divided the lands of individual tribes into allotments for individual families, encouraging farming and private land ownership among Native Americans but expropriating land to the federal government. In the process, railroad companies took nearly half of Indian-held land within the territory for outside settlers and for purchase.
Major land runs, including the Land Run of 1889, were held for settlers where certain territories were opened to settlement starting at a precise time. Usually land was open to settlers on a first come first served basis. Those who broke the rules by crossing the border into the territory before the official opening time were said to have been crossing the border sooner, leading to the termsooners, which eventually became the state's official nickname.
Deliberations to make the territory into a state began near the end of the 19th century, when the Curtis Act continued the allotment of Indian tribal land.
Attempts to create an all-Indian state named Oklahoma and a later attempt to create an all-Indian state named Sequoyah failed but the Sequoyah Statehood Convention of 1905 eventually laid the groundwork for the Oklahoma Statehood Convention, which took place two years later. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was established as the 46th state in the Union.
The new state became a focal point for the emerging oil industry, as discoveries of oil pools prompted towns to grow rapidly in population and wealth. Tulsa eventually became known as the "Oil Capital of the World" for most of the 20th century and oil investments fueled much of the state's early economy. In 1927, an Oklahoman businessman Cyrus Avery, known as the "Father of Route 66", began the campaign to create U.S. Route 66. Using a stretch of highway from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma to form the original portion of Highway 66, Avery spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association to oversee the planning of Route 66, based in his hometown of Tulsa.
Oklahoma also has a rich African American history. There were many black towns that thrived in the early 20th century because of black settlers moving from neighboring states, especially Kansas. The politician Edward P. McCabeencouraged black settlers to come to what was then Indian Territory. He discussed with President Theodore Roosevelt the possibility of making Oklahoma a majority-black state.
By the early 20th century, the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa was one of the most prosperous African-American communities in the United States. Jim Crow laws had established racial segregation since before the start of the 20th century, but the blacks had created a thriving area.
Social tensions were exacerbated by the revival of the Ku Klux Klan after 1915. The Tulsa Race Riot broke out in 1921, with whites attacking blacks. In one of the costliest episodes of racial violence in American history, sixteen hours of rioting resulted in 35 city blocks destroyed, $1.8 million in property damage, and a death toll estimated to be as high as 300 people. By the late 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan had declined to negligible influence within the state.
During the 1930s, parts of the state began suffering the consequences of poor farming practices, extended drought and high winds. Known as the Dust Bowl, areas of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and northwestern Oklahoma were hampered by long periods of little rainfall and abnormally high temperatures, sending thousands of farmers into poverty and forcing them to relocate to more fertile areas of the western United States. Over a twenty-year period ending in 1950, the state saw its only historical decline in population, dropping 6.9 percent as impoverished families migrated out of the state after the Dust Bowl.
Soil and water conservation projects markedly changed practices in the state and led to the construction of massive flood control systems and dams; they built hundreds of reservoirs and man-made lakes to supply water for domestic needs and agricultural irrigation. By the 1960s, Oklahoma had created more than 200 lakes, the most in the nation.
In 1995, Oklahoma City was the site of one of the most destructive acts of domestic terrorism in American history. TheOklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, in which Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols detonated an explosive outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killed 168 people, including 19 children. The two men were convicted of the bombing: McVeigh was sentenced to death and executed by the federal government on June 11, 2001; his partner Nichols is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.McVeigh's army buddy, Michael Fortier, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine for his role in the bombing plot (i.e. assisting in the sale of guns to raise funds for the bombing, and examining the Murrah Federal building as a possible target prior to the terrorist attack). His wife, Lori Fortier, who has since died, was granted immunity from prosecution in return for her testimony in the case.
Oklahoma is host to a diverse range of sectors including aviation, energy, transportation equipment, food processing, electronics, and telecommunications. Oklahoma is an important producer of natural gas, aircraft, and food. The state ranks third in the nation for production of natural gas, is the 27th-most agriculturally productive state, and also ranks 5th in production of wheat. Four Fortune 500 companies and six Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in Oklahoma, and it has been rated one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, with the 7th-lowest tax burden in 2007.
In 2010, Oklahoma City-based Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ranked 18th on the Forbes list of largest private companies, Tulsa-based QuikTripranked 37th, and Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby ranked 198th in 2010 report. Oklahoma's gross domestic product grew from $131.9 billion in 2006 to $147.5 billion in 2010, a jump of 10.6 percent. Oklahoma's gross domestic product per capita was $35,480 in 2010, which was ranked 40th among the states.
Though oil has historically dominated the state's economy, a collapse in the energy industry during the 1980s led to the loss of nearly 90,000 energy-related jobs between 1980 and 2000, severely damaging the local economy. Oil accounted for 35 billion dollars in Oklahoma's economy in 2007, and employment in the state's oil industry was outpaced by five other industries in 2007. As of August 2011, the state's unemployment rate is 5.6%.
In mid-2011, Oklahoma had a civilian labor force of 1.7 million and total non-farm employment fluctuated around 1.5 million. The government sector provides the most jobs, with 339,300 in 2011, followed by the transportation and utilities sector, providing 279,500 jobs, and the sectors of education, business, and manufacturing, providing 207,800, 177,400, and 132,700 jobs, respectively. Among the state's largest industries, the aerospace sector generates $11 billion annually.
Tulsa is home to the largest airline maintenance base in the world, which serves as the global maintenance and engineering headquarters for American Airlines. In total, aerospace accounts for more than 10 percent of Oklahoma's industrial output, and it is one of the top 10 states in aerospace engine manufacturing. Because of its position in the center of the United States, Oklahoma is also among the top states for logistic centers, and a major contributor to weather-related research.
The state is the top manufacturer of tires in North America and contains one of the fastest-growing biotechnology industries in the nation. In 2005, international exports from Oklahoma's manufacturing industry totaled $4.3 billion, accounting for 3.6 percent of its economic impact. Tire manufacturing, meat processing, oil and gas equipment manufacturing, and air conditioner manufacturing are the state's largest manufacturing industries.
Oklahoma is the nation's third-largest producer of natural gas, fifth-largest producer of crude oil, and has the second-greatest number of active drilling rigs, and ranks fifth in crude oil reserves. While the state ranked eighth for installed wind energy capacity in 2011, it is at the bottom of states in usage of renewable energy, with 94 percent of its electricity being generated by non-renewable sources in 2009, including 25 percent from coal and 46 percent from natural gas. Ranking 13th for total energy consumption per capita in 2009, Oklahoma's energy costs were 8th lowest in the nation.
As a whole, the oil energy industry contributes $35 billion to Oklahoma's gross domestic product, and employees of Oklahoma oil-related companies earn an average of twice the state's typical yearly income. In 2009, the state had 83,700 commercial oil wells churning 65.374 million barrels (10,393,600 m3) of crude oil. Eight and a half percent of the nation's natural gas supply is held in Oklahoma, with 1.673 trillion cubic feet (47.4 km3) being produced in 2009. Ponca City also had contributed to the states uprising oil with the Phillips 66 refinery with over 1,000 employees. Making it Oklahoma's largest oil refinery.
According to Forbes Magazine, Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, andSandRidge Energy Corporation are the largest private oil-related companies in the nation, and all of Oklahoma's Fortune 500 companies are energy-related. Tulsa's ONEOK and Williams Companies are the state's largest and second-largest companies respectively, also ranking as the nation's second and third-largest companies in the field of energy, according to Fortune Magazine.The magazine also placed Devon Energy as the second-largest company in the mining and crude oil-producing industry in the nation, while Chesapeake Energy ranks seventh respectively in that sector and Oklahoma Gas & Electric ranks as the 25th-largest gas and electric utility company.
Oklahoma Gas & Electric, commonly referred to as OG&E (NYSE: OGE) operates four base electric power plants in Oklahoma. Two of them are Coal-fired Power Plants. One in Muskogee Oklahoma, and the other in Redrock Oklahoma. Two gas-fired Power Plants. One in Harrah Oklahoma and the other in Konawa Oklahoma. OG&E was the first electric company in Oklahoma to generate electricity from wind farms in 2003.
|Oklahoma Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)|
The 27th-most agriculturally productive state, Oklahoma is fifth in cattle production and fifth in production of wheat.Approximately 5.5 percent of American beef comes from Oklahoma, while the state produces 6.1 percent of American wheat, 4.2 percent of American pig products, and 2.2 percent of dairy products.
The state had 85,500 farms in 2012, collectively producing $4.3 billion in animal products and fewer than one billion dollars in crop output with more than $6.1 billion added to the state's gross domestic product. Poultry and swine are its second and third-largest agricultural industries.
Oklahoma is placed in the South by the United States Census Bureau,but lies fully or partially in the Southwest, and southern cultural regions by varying definitions, and partially in the Upland South and Great Plains by definitions of abstract geographical-cultural regions. Oklahomans have a high rate of English, Scotch-Irish, German, and Native American ancestry, with 25 different native languages spoken.
Because many Native Americans were forced to move to Oklahoma when White settlement in North America increased, Oklahoma has much linguistic diversity. Mary Linn, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and the associate curator of Native American languages at the Sam Noble Museum, said that Oklahoma also has high levels of language endangerment.
Six governments have claimed the area now known as Oklahoma at different times, and 67 Native American tribes are represented in Oklahoma, including 39 federally recognized tribes, who are headquartered and have tribal jurisdictional areas in the state. Western ranchers, Native American tribes, southern settlers, and eastern oil barons have shaped the state's cultural predisposition, and its largest cities have been named among the most underrated cultural destinations in the United States.
While residents of Oklahoma are associated with stereotypical traits of southern hospitality – the 2006 Catalogue for Philanthropy (with data from 2004) ranks Oklahomans 7th in the nation for overall generosity – the state has also been associated with a negative cultural stereotype first popularized by John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath", which described the plight of uneducated, poverty-stricken Dust Bowl-era farmers deemed "Okies".However, the term is often used in a positive manner by Oklahomans.
In the state's largest urban areas, pockets of jazz culture flourish, and Native American, Mexican American, and Asian American communities produce music and art of their respective cultures. The Oklahoma Mozart Festival inBartlesville is one of the largest classical music festivals on the southern plains, and Oklahoma City's Festival of the Arts has been named one of the top fine arts festivals in the nation.
The state has a rich history in ballet with five Native American ballerinas attaining worldwide fame. These were Yvonne Chouteau, sisters Marjorie andMaria Tallchief, Rosella Hightower and Moscelyne Larkin, known collectively as the Five Moons. The New York Times rates the Tulsa Ballet as one of the top ballet companies in the United States. The Oklahoma City Ballet and University of Oklahoma's dance program were formed by ballerina Yvonne Chouteau and husband Miguel Terekhov. The University program was founded in 1962 and was the first fully accredited program of its kind in the United States.
In Sand Springs, an outdoor amphitheater called "Discoveryland!" is the official performance headquarters for the musicalOklahoma! Historically, the state has produced musical styles such as The Tulsa Sound and Western Swing, which was popularized at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa. The building, known as the "Carnegie Hall of Western Swing", served as the performance headquarters of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys during the 1930s.Stillwater is known as the epicenter ofRed Dirt music, the best-known proponent of which is the late Bob Childers.
Prominent theatre companies in Oklahoma include, in the capital city, Oklahoma City Theatre Company, Carpenter Square Theatre, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, and CityRep. CityRep is a professional company affording equity points to those performers and technical theatre professionals. In Tulsa, Oklahoma's oldest resident professional company is American Theatre Company, and Theatre Tulsa is the oldest community theatre company west of the Mississippi. Other companies in Tulsa include Heller Theatre and Tulsa Spotlight Theater. The cities of Norman, Lawton, and Stillwater, among others, also host well-reviewed community theatre companies.
Oklahoma is in the nation's middle percentile in per capita spending on the arts, ranking 17th, and contains more than 300 museums. The Philbrook Museum of Tulsa is considered one of the top 50 fine art museums in the United States,and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman, one of the largest university-based art and history museums in the country, documents the natural history of the region. The collections of Thomas Gilcrease are housed in the Gilcrease Museum of Tulsa, which also holds the world's largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West.
The Egyptian art collection at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee is considered to be the finest Egyptian collection between Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art contains the most comprehensive collection of glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly in the world, and Oklahoma City's National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum documents the heritage of the American Western frontier. With remnants of the Holocaust and artifacts relevant to Judaism, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art of Tulsa preserves the largest collection of Jewish art in the Southwest United States.
Oklahoma's centennial celebration was named the top event in the United States for 2007 by the American Bus Association, and consisted of multiple celebrations saving with the 100th anniversary of statehood on November 16, 2007. Annual ethnic festivals and events take place throughout the state such as Native American powwows and ceremonial events, and include festivals (as examples) in Scottish, Irish, German,Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Czech, Jewish, Arab, Mexican and African-American communities depicting cultural heritage or traditions.
During a 10-day run in Oklahoma City, the State Fair of Oklahoma attracts roughly one million people along with the annual Festival of the Arts. Large national pow-wows, various Latin and Asian heritage festivals, and cultural festivals such as the Juneteenthcelebrations are held in Oklahoma City each year. The Tulsa State Fair attracts over one million people during its 10-day run, and the city's Mayfest festival entertained more than 375,000 people in four days during 2007.In 2006, Tulsa's Oktoberfestwas named one of the top 10 in the world by USA Today and one of the top German food festivals in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine.
Norman plays host to the Norman Music Festival, a festival that highlights native Oklahoma bands and musicians. Norman is also host to the Medieval Fair of Norman, which has been held annually since 1976 and was Oklahoma's first medieval fair. The Fair was held first on the south oval of the University of Oklahoma campus and in the third year moved to the Duck Pond in Norman until the Fair became too big and moved to Reaves Park in 2003. The Medieval Fair of Norman is Oklahoma's "largest weekend event and the third largest event in Oklahoma, and was selected by Events Media Network as one of the top 100 events in the nation".