Oklahoma, the 46th state, was granted statehood in 1907. It was originally known as "Indian territory" due to it being the place where the Five Civilized Tribes were forcibly relocated to in the late 1830s. These tribes were originally from the Southwest, and their tragic forced migration is what we know as the "Trail of Tears". Eventually Oklahoma was home to 67 tribes. Today, Oklahoma is still home to the largest Indian population in the United States, with over 250,000 Native Americans living there. Thirty nine tribes have tribal headquarters in Oklahoma, including the Cherokee, the Seminoles, the Choctaw, the Delawares, and the Creek. The name "Oklahoma' comes from the Choctaw words okla- meaning people, and humma-meaning red.
Oklahoma has been inhabited for over 11,000 years according to mammoth bones found containing spear points near Andarko. From 500 AD to 1300 AD an advanced civilization known as the Spiro Mound Builders lived there. The first written history of Oklahoma comes from Coronado who passed through the area in 1541 on his search for the Golden City. At that time plains indians, including the Osage, the Kiowa, the Commanche, and the Apache lived in the area.
When Oklahoma became Indian Territory, the tribes were given treaties promising that the land would be theirs "for as long as the grass grows and the water flows". Ranchers from Texas, however, when moving their cattle along the Chisolm Trail realized that the land in Indian Territory was lush and also much closer to the railroads where they shipped their cattle to market. They began to lobby for making some of the land available, and in 1889 the first "Land Rush" happened, when a large piece of land known as the "Cherokee Strip" became available for homesteaders. On the day of the Land Rush, over 100,000 homesteaders lined up along 165 miles of the Kansas border, waiting for the gun to go off at noon. When the appointed hour came, the settlers raced to grab a stake from the center of 640-acre homesteads. This initial rush was followed by others in 18891, 1893, and 1895. There were certain individuals who grabbed their stakes early, some legally and some illicitly. These people were known as "Sooners", and even today Oklahoma is known as the "Sooner State".
Oklahoma is a beautiful state, being composed of approximately 25% forest, and having 4 mountain ranges within its borders. It has more man made lakes than any other state, an area totaling over one million acres. The shorelines of these lakes add up to more miles than the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coast shorelines of the rest of the United States.