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Oklahoma State Guide

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The state of Oklahoma is just over a hundred years young. Oklahoma was added as the 46th state to the unionFlag of Oklahoma on 16 November, 1907. It is land of diverse history, hospitable people and breathtaking scenery. The name of Oklahoma is derived from two Choctaw words - "okla," which means people, and "humma," which means red so the name of the state literally means “red people." The nickname of Oklahoma is the Sooner State.

Oklahoma Fast Facts[1]
  • State capitol: Oklahoma City
  • Statehood: 16 November, 1907 as the 46th State
  • Largest city: Oklahoma City
  • Largest metro: Oklahoma City-Shawnee
  • Population: 3,814,820 (2012, estimated)
  • Nickname: The Sooner State.
  • Official Language: English, Cherokee
State Symbols
  • State motto: "Labor Omnia Vincit" Oklahoma State Symbols
  • Labor conquers all things.
  • State song is: "Oklahoma!"
  • State colors: Green and White.
  • State animal American bison
  • State bird: Scissor-tailed flycatcher
  • State fish: White or sand bass
  • State rock: Rose rock
  • State floral emblem: Mistletoe
  • State wildflower: Indian blanket (Gaillardia)
  • State musical instrument: Fiddle
  • State grass: Indian grass
  • State insect: Honeybee
  • State Flower: Oklahoma Rose
  • State Tree: The Redbud
  • State Reptile: Mountain Boomer, or Collared Lizard
  • State Country & Western Song: "Faded Love"
  • State Folk Dance: Square Dance
  • State Fossil: Saurophaganax maximus
  • State Furbearer: Racoon
  • State Game Animal: White-Tail Deer
  • State Game Bird: Wild Turkey
  • State Meal: Okra and Chicken Fried Steak

History of Oklahoma

Oklahoma although one of the youngest states in America, is a land that reaches far back in time. The recorded history of Oklahoma started in 1541, when Spanish explorer Coronado traveled through the area on his quest for the "Lost City of Gold." The region that would eventually be known as Oklahoma was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

The Five Civilized Tribes from the southeastern United States in 1820s, were relocated to Indian Territory over Tribes of Oklahomanumerous routes, the most peaceful being the Cherokee "Trail of Tears." These tribes were the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek Chickasaw, and Seminole. These tribes were forcefully relocated from their ancestral lands by state and federal governments. During the rigorous trips west, the tribes suffered great hardships. The survivors, through hard work and communal support eventually recovered from the dislocation.

Gradually, there began a period of rapid developments, where new institutions and cultural adaptations emerged. This period is referred to as the "Golden Age". Oklahoma became a part of the booming cattle industry, following the destruction of the Civil War. This marked the era of the cowboy.

In the late 1800s, western expansion reached the territory flickering a controversy over the fate of the land. The U.S. government enacted Treaties after the Civil War which forced the tribes to give up their communal lands and accept individual property allotments to make way for expansion.

There was also talk of utilizing Indian Territory for settlement by African-Americans liberated from slavery. The government, however, did not pressure much, as a group known as "Boomers," wanted the rich lands opened to non-Indian settlement. Between 1889 and 1895, the government decided to open the western region of the territory to settlers by holding a total of six land runs. Settlers came from different parts of the nation and even other countries like Germany, Ireland, Poland and Slavic nations to stake their claims. The African-Americans, who were earlier slaves of Indians, also took part in the runs and received their allotments as tribal members. In the following years, black pioneers founded and settled entire communities in or near Arcadia, Langston, Boley and Taft.

Wild west

Oklahoma became the 46th state of the nation on 16th November 16, 1907[2].Oil was discovered in Oklahoma and this made the state the “place to go to strike it rich". People from throughout the world visited Oklahoma to seek their fortunes in the state’s teeming oil fields. Cities like Ponca City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Bartlesville flourished. The people of Oklahoma were filled with pride for their land hundreds of scenic lakes and rivers, diverse cultures, and genuine warmth and friendliness. This proud Oklahoma spirit is echoed through the accomplishments of the citizen of the state such as humorist and "Cherokee Cowboy" Will Rogers, African American author Ralph Ellison, Olympian and American Indian athlete Jim Thorpe, jazz musician Charlie Christian, astronaut Thomas Stafford and country music superstars Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Jeremy Castle.

History Timeline
  • 1803: In the Louisiana Purchase, U.S. acquired most of Oklahoma from France.
  • 1830s - 1840s: The Five Civilized Tribes was forced to relocate from their native lands by the U.S. government.
  • 1860s: Because the Indians had sided with the Confederacy, after the Civil War, they faced ruin and forfeiture of their lands
  • 1870s: An additional 25 tribes were moved to Oklahoma to live on federal lands.
  • 1872: Routes of commerce began to open as the railroad crossed Oklahoma.
  • 1875: George Custer defeated remaining Indian forces, at the Battle of Washita, and in general terms the Indian wars ended.
  • 1889: U.S. government opened all unassigned Oklahoma lands for settlement.
  • 1890: Oklahoma Territory was created and it coexisted with the Indian Territory.
  • 1907: Oklahoma became a state of the Union.
  • 1930s: Most of Oklahoma's farmers were ruined by severe drought and the national economic depression.
  • 1959: Alcohol prohibition was repealed in Oklahoma.
  • 1971: The McClellen-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System opened that connected Tulsa and Oklahoma to the Mississippi River.
  • 1990: Oklahoma was the first state to limit the terms of legislators
  • 1995: Terrorist bomb in Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City killed 168 people.
  • 2001: Two Oklahoma State basketball players and six staffers, broadcasters associated with team killed in plane crash during snowstorm in Colorado; Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma City bomber, executed.
  • 2004: Terry Nichols, Oklahoma City bomber co-conspirator, found guilty on all counts.
  • 2008: Tornado struck Picher killing six people.
  • 2011: Tornadoes struck in several areas of Oklahoma killing five.

Geography of Oklahoma

The state of Oklahoma covers a land area of 68,667 making it the 18 in the nation in size. The state is bordered by six states: Arkansas and Missouri to the east, Texas to the south and west, Kansas to the north and Colorado and New Mexico at the tip of the northwestern Oklahoma panhandle. The state is connected to the world's waters by the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, which flows on the Arkansas River through Arkansas to the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Eco Regions of Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a land of fertile and flat plains and low hills. Oklahoma consists of 10 separate land regions.

Geographical map of Oklahoma

The Western High Plains

With has a greater elevation than the vast Central Great Plains found to the east, receives less rain than surrounding eco regions. The terrain of this region is relatively smooth and is high in cropland. The natural vegetation is the famed buffalo grass.

Southwestern Tablelands

A small part of the Southwestern Tablelands is in cropland, unlike neighboring Great Plains eco regions. Instead most part of the elevated tableland is in semiarid grazing land and sub humid grassland Natural vegetation of this region includes mesquite-buffalo grass, grama-buffalo grass, and shinnery (midgrass prairie with open, low growth of several types of oak and shrubs).

Central Great Plains

This region receives more precipitation in comparison to the neighboring Southwestern Tablelands, resulting in more vegetation. The terrain of the Central Great Plains is slightly more irregular than the Western High Plains. Most part of this eco region is now cropland.

Tall grass Prairie (Flint Hills)

This region consists of open hills of limestone and shale with steep and relatively narrow valleys. The natural vegetation of Tall grass Prairie consists of tall grasses like Indian grass, big bluestem and switch grass, each of which grows up to eight feet in height in moist, deep soil sites. Wildflowers can be seen throughout this region.

Cross timbers (Central Oklahoma/Texas Plains)

The Central Oklahoma and Texas Plains is a transition area between the once prairie, now winter wheat growing regions to the west and the forested low mountains of eastern Oklahoma. The native vegetation of this region is the Transitional "cross-timbers" (little bluestem grassland with scattered blackjack oak and post oak trees).

Caves & Prairies (Central Irregular Plains)

This region of Oklahoma features natural vegetation that consists of grassland and forest that results in natural mosaic. The terrain is less forested to the Ozark Highlands to the east and less hilly than the adjacent Cross timbers region to the south.

Ozark Highlands

One can find plentiful of Oak-hickory in the Ozark Highlands, and also stands of oak and pine are also very common in this region. This eco region is generally more heavily forested than adjacent regions and has a very irregular terrain than adjacent regions (except the Ozark Forest/Boston Mountains to the south).

Ozark Forest (Boston Mountains)

This part of Oklahoma is a deeply dissected sandstone and shale plateau. This region was originally covered by oak-hickory forests. The dominant vegetation in this region is white oak Red oak, and hickory, although shortleaf pine and eastern red cedar can be seen in many of the lower areas and on some south and west-facing slopes.

Hardwood Forest (Arkansas Valley)

Most part of this region is forested valleys and ridges. Hardwood Forest terrain is much less irregular than that of the Ozark Forest or Boston Mountains to the north and the Ouachita Mountains to the south.

Ouachita Mountains

This region is made up of sharply defined ridges. Once this region was covered by oak-hickory-pine forests but now most of this region is covered with shortleaf pine.

Cypress Swamps & Forests (South Central Plains)

Locally, Cypress Swamps & Forests is known as the "piney woods,”. Most part of Cypress Swamps and Forests is irregular plains was once covered by oak-hickory-pine forests, but is now predominantly in shortleaf pine.


The state of Oklahoma experiences a warm and dry climate. The northwestern region of the state is cooler and drier than the southeast. The temperatures here range from below zero in the winter to over 100 degree in the summer.

Precipitation (normally rainfall, melted snow, and other forms of moisture) greatly varies across the state. The Oklahoma’s wettest part is in the southeast with 50 inches average rainfall per year. The driest part of Oklahoma is the Panhandle with 15 inches average rainfall annually. Snowfall in a year ranges from 2 inches in the southeast to 25 inches in the northwest.

Forest Service in OklahomaForest service in Oklahoma

Approximately 28 percent of the land of Oklahoma is forested. The forest industry contributes over $2.8 billion annually to the economy of the state. The forests of Oklahoma provide numerous ecological services such as recreational opportunities, clean air and water, and scenic beauty.

More than 95% of Oklahoma’s forests are not owned by the federal government or large forest products companies, but instead they are owned by thousands of private individuals such as farmers, ranchers and those who still live on the land, and also the teachers and professionals and other private citizens that lives in cities across the state or across the nation. The Federal and the State Government, community leaders, the forest industry, and thousands of private landowners are responsible to keep the forests and woodlands of the state healthy and productive.

National Forests in Oklahoma

Ouachita National Fores

The Ouachita National Forest covers an area of 1.8 million acres in southeastern Oklahoma and central Arkansas. The headquarter of the forests is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Ouachita National Forest is used for different purposes which includes watershed protection and improvement, timber and wood production, habitat for wildlife and fish species (including threatened and endangered ones), minerals leasing, wilderness area management, and outdoor recreation. One can enjoy hiking, camping, scenic driving, biking, water recreation, trail riding, hunting, fishing and more.

To know more about National Forests in Oklahoma Click here.

Important Mountain Ranges in Oklahoma

Oklahoma consists of four mountain ranges which include Arbuckle, Ouachita, Wichita and Ozark.

Ouachita Mountain Range

  • The Ouachita Mountain Range, is characterized by rolling, rocky terrain and pine-covered hills and is located throughout southeastern Oklahoma.
  • The Arbuckle Mountains is located in south-central Oklahoma harbor. The mountain features lakes, waterfalls and hiking trails.
  • The Wichita Mountains are located in the southwestern region of Oklahoma.
  • The Ozark Mountains are a physio graphic and geologic highland region of the central United States.
Geography Quick Facts[3]
  • Total area: 68,667 square miles
  • Longitude: 94 degrees 29'W to 103 degrees W
  • Latitude: 33 degrees 35'N to 37 degrees N
  • Forests area: 24 %of Oklahoma.
  • Highest elevation: Black Mesa (4,978 feet)
  • Lowest elevation: near Idabel (324 feet)
  • Man-made Lakes: 200
  • Largest lake: Lake Eufaula (102,000 surface acres)
  • Major Rivers: Arkansas River, Red River, Canadian River.

Demographics of Oklahoma

The population of Oklahoma as of 2014 estimation by the U.S. Census Bureau was 3,878,051[4]. The 2014 census reflected a hike of 3.38% since the year 2010.

Oklahoma population quick facts
  • Population, 2014 estimate: 3,878,051
  • Population, 2013 estimate: 3,853,118
  • Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base: 3,751,616
  • Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 3.4%
  • Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013: 2.7%
  • Population, 2010: 3,751,351
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.9%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 24.6%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 14.3%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 50.5%
Oklahoma Racial Groups
  • White alone, percent, 2013 (a): 75.4%
  • Black or African American alone, percent, 2013 (a): 7.7%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2013 (a): 9.0%
  • Asian alone, percent, 2013 (a): 2.0%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2013 (a): 0.2%
  • Two or More Races, percent, 2013: 5.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013 (b): 9.6%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013: 67.5%

Economy of OklahomaEconomy of Oklahoma

Several sectors play a major role in the economic growth of Oklahoma. The economy of Oklahoma covers four metropolitan areas which include Fort Smith, Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Agriculture, tourism and industries in Oklahoma contribute to the state’s economy.

Oklahoma Economy Fast Facts[5]
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) in (millions of current dollars) of all industry total in 2013 - $ 182,086
  • Oklahoma’s per capita real GDP in 2013 - $ 42,670
  • Oklahoma’s per capita personal income in 2014 - $ 43,138
  • Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in 2015- 3.9%

Agriculture in Oklahoma

  • Major crops in Oklahoma are wheat, dairy products, cotton, hay and peanuts.
  • Oklahoma ranks 5th in the production of winter wheat in the nation.
  • The state also ranks 5th in cattle and calf production in the nation.
  • Poultry of Oklahoma produce 933 million eggs per year.

Industries in Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma is the third largest natural gas producer in the nation.
  • The State is also the fifth largest oil producer.
  • Oklahoma leading industries produce are metal products, machinery, and refined oil products.
  • The most important mined products of Oklahoma's are petroleum and natural gas.

Tourism in Oklahoma

Tourism is also an important part of the economy of Oklahoma. Tourism also contributes a large share to improve the economy of Oklahoma.

The top places to visit in Oklahoma are:Lake Wister State Park
Business Quick Facts
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012: 90, 9541
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012: 1, 305, 1831
  • Private nonfarm employment, percent change, 2011-2012: 3.5%1
  • Non employer establishments, 2012: 266,586
  • Total number of firms, 2007: 333,797
  • Manufacturers’ shipments, 2007 ($1000): 60,681,358
  • Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000): 48,074,682
  • Retail sales, 2007 ($1000): 43,095,353
  • Retail sales per capita, 2007: $11,931
  • Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000): 5,106,585
  • Building permits, 2013: 13,583

Transportation in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is a government agency of Oklahoma. The department is responsible for the maintenance, construction and regulation of the transportation

The Road Transportation in Oklahoma comprises of several state routes, interstate highways, bridges and tunnels. Oklahoma Department of TransportationThe major highways of Oklahoma are: Interstate 35 , Interstate 40, Interstate 44, Interstate 235, Interstate 240, Interstate 244, Interstate 444. Buses are also an important means of communication in Oklahoma. Inter-city bus lines offer an important service to the people of Oklahoma. Taxi is another important mode of travel in the state. It is also a major source of demand response transportation in many communities.

Air transport is an essential gateway of Oklahoma that serves the tourists and locals from around the globe.The Transport Department authorizes and oversees all flight operations in Oklahoma. The three primary commercial airports of Oklahoma are Lawton–Fort Sill Regional Airport, Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport.

Rail Transportation is also an important mode of transportation in Oklahoma. Rail transportation in Oklahoma consists of both the movement of people (passenger rail) and movement of goods (freight rail). The Heartland Flyer gives daily passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth in Texas. The Department of Transportation of Oklahoma serves 428 miles of railroad track.Oklahoma’s Freight rail transportation users are served by 3 major railroads and 18 short line railroads, each a private corporation.

The Water Transport of Oklahoma play a vital role in the economic development of the state. The sea ports in the Oklahoma serve as the major export and import hub for good movement and distribution across the state, the United States and also around the globe. Major ports in Oklahoma are: Tulsa Port of Catoosa, Oakley’s Port 33 and Port of Muskogee.

Also read: Transportation in Oklahoma

Government of Oklahoma

The Government of Oklahoma is divided into three branches the Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judiciary branch.

The Executive Branch of Oklahoma consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor & Inspector, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Supt. of Public Instruction and Commissioner of Labor. The Governor is the head of the Executive Branch of Oklahoma. The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma is the second highest elected official in the State.

The Legislative Branch of Oklahoma comprises of the House of Representative and the State Senate.The House of Representatives of Oklahoma consists of 101 members. The House is the larger chamber of the bicameral Oklahoma Legislature. The Senate is the lower house of the Oklahoma legislature.

The Judiciary Branch of Oklahoma applies law and regulations and also ensures justice in the state. The Judicial Branch of Oklahoma consists of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Civil Appeals and Oklahoma District courts. Oklahoma, unlike most states has two courts of last resort the Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.


The Tax Commission of Oklahoma is responsible to collect tax to support the provisions of public services. Oklahoma individuals and corporations are required to pay taxes or fee charges to both levels of government state as well local. Major Taxes administered by the Tax Commission of Oklahoma are Income Tax,Property Tax, Sales Tax, Withholding Tax, Alcohol and Tobacco tax, Use Tax, Tourism Tax, Franchise Tax, Gross Production tax, Business Activity Tax and Excise Tax.

Also read: Government of Oklahoma

Healthcare in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Health serves as the major health protection agency in the state. The primary aim Healthcare in Oklahomaof the department is to protect and promote health and to prevent disease and injury so that Oklahoma can become a healthy place to live.

Hospitals in Oklahoma are well equipped with all the modern facilities, efficiently staffed and provide 24-hour inpatient care, including nursing, medical, surgical, laboratory, anesthesia, radiology, child care, pharmacy services, mental well being, maternity care and many more services.

Several organizations in Oklahoma are dedicated to provide organ, blood, eye and tissue to those in need. The organizations are committed and striving to meet the transplant needs of the people of Virginia.

Oklahoma has initiated many programs that assist the people of the state to pay for the entire or part of their health care or medical costs like the Medicaid or SoonerCare Program, , Vaccines for Children Program and Medicare Assistance Program.

Also read: Healthcare in Oklahoma

Education in OklahomaEducation in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is the executive agency of Government of Oklahoma.The Department is responsible in supervision of the public school system of Oklahoma and determining the policies and directing the administration. The State Board of Education of Oklahoma consists of the Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction and six members appointed by the Governor of The state.

Mentioned below are names of some universities and colleges in Oklahoma.

Tradition and culture of Oklahoma

Oklahoma enjoys celebrating different fairs and festivals throughout the year. From cultural gatherings to spectator sports the people of Oklahoma remains busy throughout the year. In Oklahoma there's a festival almost every weekend. The people of Oklahoma are also great lovers of music.

Some of the notable festivals of Oklahoma are:Iron Thistle Scottish Festival
  • Azalea Festival
  • Trail of Tears Art Show
  • Festival of the Arts
  • Tulsa Craft Beer Week
  • Twister Alley Film Festival
  • Red Fern Festival
  • Spring Fest & Hops Classic Car Show
  • H&8th Night Market
  • Mangum Rattlesnake Derby
  • Iron Thistle Scottish Festival
Also read: Festivals in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Interesting Facts
  • The Poteau River is the only river located in Oklahoma that flows north.
  • The largest single deposit of the world of pure alabaster is found in the Alabaster Caverns near Freedom in Oklahoma.
  • The tallest hill in the world, Mount Cavanal, at 1,999 feet is located in Oklahoma.
  • The first state capital of Oklahoma was Guthrie.
  • The state capitol of Oklahoma is the only one in the world with an oil well drilled beneath it.
  • Tinker Air Force Base, the world's largest air materiel center is in Midwest City.

  1. Oklahoma Fast Facts
  2. Oklahoma Statehood
  3. Geography Fast Facts
  4. Demographics of Oklahoma
  5. Economy Fast Facts
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