Oklahoma, abbreviated OK and Okla., Is a state of the United States bordering Kansas and Colorado in the north, Arizona in the west, Texas in the south, Arkansas and Missouri in the east. The state has an area of 181,049 km2 with 3,930,864 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Oklahoma City.
The name is from the choctaw language oklahumma, ‘the red people’. The state is also known as The Sooner State, the “settler state”, after colonists stormed in before the state was declared open for colonization.
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Oklahoma consists mostly of a plain that rises steadily from about 100 feet above sea level. in the southeast to 1500 masl in Black Mesa farthest northwest where the terrain is more cropped. Farthest to the east is the Ozark Plateau and the Ouachita Mountains.
Oklahoma City has a 27 °C average temperature in July and 3 °C in January. The amount of precipitation decreases from 1250 mm in the east to 425 mm in the west. The natural vegetation is in the east oak and pine in the mountains, and oak, hickory and other lowland trees, otherwise grassland. 22 percent of the acreage is wooded, 31 percent cultivated land.
Of the population (often called “okies”), 65.7 percent are considered white, 7.8 percent black, 9.2 percent indigenous, and 10.6 percent Hispanics (US Census, 2017). Of the US states, only California has a larger indigenous population than Oklahoma, measured in number.
58 percent of the population lives in urbanized areas. The largest cities are the capital Oklahoma City and Tulsa. There are universities in Norman, Stillwater and Oklahoma City. The most important denominations are Baptists and Methodists.
Oklahoma sends two senators and five representatives to Congress in Washington DC.
Agriculture is an important trade route with considerable livestock farming. Wheat, maize, millet, oats, cotton, peanuts, fruits and vegetables are grown. The farms are very large, especially in the west. Soil erosion is a serious problem, and about 95 percent of the area is under constant control to prevent flooding and land damage.
The middle part of the state has rich oil fields, with large refineries in Tulsa. Oklahoma is among the largest oil producers in the United States and also mines natural gas and helium. In the east, coal is extracted, in the northeast corner lead and zinc ore. The industry is particularly concentrated in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The most important branches are the food and beverage industry, petrochemical and transport industry. Otherwise, timber mining, quarrying, sand, stone and cement industry are important industries.
The University of Oklahoma in Norman is the nation’s leading research and publishing institution in the study of indigenous culture.
The Oklahoma area was incorporated into the United States during the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and in 1834 was left to the “five civilized tribes”(see Native American Territory). Many tribes were forcibly relocated here from states farther east, as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Most famous is the expulsion “The Trail of Tears”in 1838, where several thousands of Cherokee, Choctaw and others “five civilized tribes »perished on the road.
When oil was found in 1859, part of Oklahoma was opened to immigrants from Europe. This area was organized as Oklahoma Territory in 1890 and added to a narrow strip of land farther west (the so-called “Panhandle”). Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were then merged into one state in 1907 and entered the Union as state number 48. Large oil discoveries had then transformed Oklahoma’s economic base. The drought in the 1930s led to great emigration and population decline.