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Oklahoma

A map of OklahomaOklahoma is situated in the southern central region of the United States. The semi-arid high plains of central and western Oklahoma form part of the Great Plains. Rivers such as the Cimarron, Canadian and Red flow west-east across the plains. The flat landscape is interrupted by mountain ranges such as the Black Mesa in the Panhandle (the northwestern strip) and the Wichita Mountains in the southwest. Today, the plains' native prairie grasses have been replaced by pasture and wheat fields. The Ozark Mountains rise in the northeast, while the Ouachita Mountains straddle the border with Arkansas.



Elk Mountain in the Wichita Mountains
A young student at a Oklahoma Cherokee language immersion school writing in the Cherokee script. The Cherokee Nation is...Read More >>A young student at a Oklahoma Cherokee language immersion school writing in the Cherokee script. The Cherokee Nation is encouraging the teaching of its language in the hope that in 50 years, 80% or more of the Cherokee people will be fluent speakers.

Name

Oklahoma's name comes from the Native American Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people”, a term used to describe Native American people as a whole. The Choctaw chief suggested the name during treaty negotiations in 1866 (Indian Territory was then roughly the same area as modern Oklahoma state). Oklahoma Territory was officially established in 1890.

Climate

22nd April 1889 was the day when parts of Oklahoma, previously Indian Territory, were opened up to settlement. Some 50,000 prospective settlers lined up on the border, and at noon they were allowed to make their ”run" and compete for the best land. Those who illegally entered ahead of the starting gun were called "sooners". This is the origin of the state's nickname: "Sooner State".

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