History of Oklahoma

The U.S. State of Oklahoma (OK) was admitted as the 46th state of the union on November 16th, 1907.  Like much of North America, OK was inhabited by indigenous civilizations for several thousands of years before the first Europeans set foot in the area comprising modern-day Oklahoma.  Although in 1541, the Spanish Explorer and Conquistador, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, was the first European to make their way through modern-day Oklahoma, he was merely a traveler.  The French officially laid claim to the land in the 1700s, which they maintained until 1803.

During this time, several different nations of Native Americans lived in the region.  Among them, the Apache, Comanche, Quapaw, and Osage all resided in modern-day OK.  After the United States of America purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, all French territories west of the Mississippi River, including OK, became the property of the United States.  OK was attached to the Arkansas Territory from 1819 through 1828.

In the 1830s, Native Americans were forced from their homelands across the entire country and transported to current-day OK.  Essentially, whole tribes and nations of Native Americans were deported and sent to “Indian Territory,” or “Indian Country.”  By the 1900s, there were attempts to designate Oklahoma as an entirely Native American state.  However, these attempts failed, and OK was officially admitted as the 46th state in 1907 without the designation of an “Indian State.”

Almost immediately, oil was struck in Oklahoma.  Towns grew rapidly, the population boomed, and the economy gained steam rather quickly.  At one point, the city of Tulsa was nicknamed “The Oil Capital of the World.”


Currently, the state of OK ranks 20th among the fifty states in terms of land area and 28th in terms of population.  In 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of OK to be 3,923,561.  The capital of Oklahoma City serves as the most populated city and the most populated metropolitan area in the state.  Combined, the cities of Oklahoma City and Tulsa are home to over one million OK citizens.  Oklahoma’s economy is multifaceted, with active participation in multiple industries, with oil production being among the most significant contributor to its economy.  Oklahoma is within the top five states in crude oil production and third in the nation in natural gas production.

In addition to oil and natural gas production, OK maintains an aviation sector, an energy sector, a food production sector, a telecommunications sector, and an electronics sector.

Due to OK’s dark history as a landing place for nearly an entire civilization of Native American nations, rich Native American history is present.  Thirty-nine federally recognized tribes are currently headquartered in the state, with more that are not federally recognized.  This has fostered a linguistically and traditionally diverse culture unique to the state of Oklahoma.


For much of its history, OK has traditionally been a conservative state.  Currently, Oklahoma’s representatives in the United States Senate are members of the Republican Party and its five-member delegation to the United States House of Representatives.  In addition, the governor of OK is a member of the Republican Party.