History of Oklahoma

One of the most predominant aspects of Oklahoma history, and biggest influence from the past, is the Native American culture. Visitors learn countless interesting facts about Oklahoma by visiting the many attractions illustrating exactly how Native Americans influenced the state. Though younger than many other states in America, the history of Oklahoma spans back to the mid- sixteenth century when the first Spanish explorer discovered the vast area. First renowned as a component of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the region was eventually named Oklahoma and declared an individual state later on in the twentieth century.

In the early nineteenth century, a group of native tribes known as the Five Civilized Tribes, were sent and segregated to newly established Indian Territory and redistributed in different areas after ancestral lands were taken by federal and state governments. The trail the Native Americans were forced down was infamously known as "The Trails of Tears." This trail is the most prominent aspect of Cherokee history in Oklahoma today. The hardships of a sudden and harsh dislocation created much suffering among the Native American people, yet over time, as a community, they adjusted to their new lives and new, lesser status. As they recouped their losses and regained strength as a people, the "Golden Age" of the native people emerged and their culture and newly formed associations led them to the forefront of Indian Territory and beyond.

The dawn of the cowboy era emerged when the cattle industry boomed in the late nineteenth century. There are many interesting facts about Oklahoma during this period. There was a major expansion toward the west, forcing the enactment of several treaties, once again taking away allotted tribal land and forcing tribes to make do with even less property. Opened to white settlement, Indian Territory was slowly auctioned off and the entire western area later became Oklahoma Territory, Oklahoma meaning "red person." At the peak of the twentieth century in the history of Oklahoma, a mass influx of immigrants began settling even more land. Irish, Slavic, German, and Polish natives were the main immigrant groups, as well as a large number of African Americans, once slaves to the tribes.

Once Oklahoma became the 46th state in November of 1907, the history of Oklahoma officially began. During this time massive oil wells were discovered and Oklahoma became famously known as an area in which to gain significant wealth. Seeking vast fortunes, came people from far and wide which created thriving industries in cities like Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Tulsa, and Bartlesville.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the history of Oklahoma illustrates the past of the first African Americans in the state. First transported and used as slaves by tribal nations, African Americans later arrived as farmers, cowboys, and settlers. By the time the region became an official state, African Americans were stronger in number than European immigrants and native tribes. This led to strong black settlements statewide where some of the worlds best and most famous jazz musicians were born.

Another of the most fascinating parts of Oklahoma history is how the position of African American soldiers in the Civil War was completely left out of official history texts. This fact is one of the most intriguing and surprising facts about Oklahoma history. Present in battles at both Honey Springs and Muskogee, African Americans fought bravely alongside white soldiers. It's these events that brought forward a new bill passed after the end of the Civil War providing black troops with mandatory provisions. These soldiers eventually became known as "Buffalo Soldiers" near the twentieth century and played a helping hand fighting cattle thieves and bandits, building protective forts, and staving off revolutionaries.

From all of this fascinating history of Oklahoma, much of the good in the past still lives on in the thirty-nine native nations and tribes of Native Americans with their main bases still located in Oklahoma. The state has long been of interest to those curious about the many interesting facts about Oklahoma history and the regions, monuments, and preserved settlements that stand as testaments to many significant eras. Today, aside from history, there are a wealth of great aspects to enjoy and things to do in Oklahoma. From the state capital of Oklahoma City, and travel to the many exciting cities and small towns beyond, Oklahoma vacations offer a great medley of destinations and activities ideal for vacations.

Guthrie Oklahoma


Guthrie Oklahoma traces its beginning to the Land Run of 1899, where the prai...

Oklahoma Forum

April events in Oklahoma

if you're looking for fun things to do in terms of events to visit during your trip to Oklah...

More Forum Posts »