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Oklahoma is located in the southern Great Plains area of the United States. The area is often referred to as the "Heartland."

Bordering areas:
East - Arkansas and Missouri
North - Kansas
Northwest - Colorado
Far west - New Mexico
Near west - Texas
South - Texas

Time Zone: Oklahoma is in the Central Time Zone with the exception of Kenton which is in the Mountain Time Zone.


Oklahoma was once named "Indian Territory" and is now home to more Native Americans than any other state. Each tribe is viewed as a sovereign nation and has its own constitution. Almost 40 tribes have headquarters in Oklahoma.

This area has been inhabited for thousands of years. Evidence left in temple mounds is dated around A.D. 850. In 1830, Congress said that all Indians east of the Mississippi River should be relocated on new land in the newly designated "Indian Territory." Most of the removal was done by force as these peoples did not want to leave their homes. Between the years of 1817 and 1840, the government moved five Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole) from the southeastern United States to Indian Territory. One such march in the winter of 1838-39 was named the "Trail of Tears" for the many deaths that took place during that hardship.

The government wanted the settlers to wait until the tribes were settled and stable before they came in. But many of them did not want to wait and went to the new areas before the official dates for homesteaders. These settlers were called "sooners" because they went too soon. This name was taken as one of Oklahoma's nicknames. The largest of these official land runs for homesteaders was on April 22, 1889. Towns such as Oklahoma City and Guthrie sprang up overnight.

The western portion of Oklahoma became the Oklahoma Territory in 1890. The name came from a Choctaw term which means "red people." The eastern portion of the state remained the Indian Territory. Originally, both areas petitioned to become separate states, but they were refused. Then they combined forces and united. Oklahoma became the 46th state in 1907. The first capital was Guthrie. In 1910, the state headquarters moved to Oklahoma City where it has remained every since that time.

Two other events have shaped Oklahoma over the years. One is the discovery of oil and the other is the dust bowl of the 1930's. Oil was first drilled in 1897 near Bartlesville. By 1904, Oklahoma was a leading petroleum producer. Because of poor agricultural habits in areas that were really not meant for plowing and the lack of knowledge of ways to prevent erosion, the area was prime for disaster when the drought began. The lack of rain quickly brought the earth to dust in most of Western Oklahoma. Many people, nicknamed "Okies," left their homes and sought shelter and work in other western areas. Flood control, environmental care, and diversified industry has helped the area to recover.


Though Oklahoma is considered a prairie state, it also has many mountains. The southeast has the Ouachitas with pine and oak forest. The northeast area has ridges and valleys in the Ozark Plateau. The southern portion of the state has two low granitic ranges: the Arbuckles near Davis and the Wichitas northeast of Lawton. In the north are several areas of salt flats with one of the largest being about 25 square miles near Cherokee. As western Oklahoma moves toward the Rockies, there is a perceptible rise, reaching up to 4,973 feet in the northwest corner of the panhandle area at Black Mesa. Most of the southeastern part of the state is forest, privately owned or part of the Ouachita National Forest.

There are a number of rivers in Oklahoma, the Arkansas being the largest. It combines with the Verdigris to become the Arkansas-Verdigris Navigation System. Many small rivers and streams are in the state. A number of these have been dammed and large lakes and reservoirs have been created. Grand Lake was one of the first of these. The largest is Eufaula near McAlester. Many others are found all over the state, including the area once known as the dust bowl for its lack of water. Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state with over one million surface acres of water. The state has about 11,611 miles of shoreline.

Lowest Point:
Little River in McCurtain County at 289 feet above sea level
Highest Point:
Black Mesa in the Panhandle at 4,973 feet above sea level
Mean Elevation
1,296 feet above sea level

Latitude - 33°35'N to 37°N
Longitude - 94°29'W to 103°W

Total area - 69,960 square miles
Total land area - 68,656 square miles
Total water area - 1,301 square miles

Width - 230 miles
Length - 298 miles


Though Oklahoma has been a major producer of petroleum and energy, manufacturing has also taken a front seat. Most all industries are well-represented in the state. Aerospace, aviation, glass, wood and paper products, food processing and more are prominent industries here. Helium and iodine are found in abundance in the western portion of Oklahoma. Agriculture and livestock remains a large portion of the economy with the area leading the nation in mung bean and broomcorn production.

1890 - 258,657
1900 - 790,391
1910 - 1,657,155
1920 - 2,028,283
1930 - 2,396,040
1940 - 2,336,434
1950 - 2,233,351
1960 - 2,328,284
1970 - 2,559,229
1980 - 3,025,290
1990 - 3,145,585
2000 - 3,450,654
2005 - 3,547-884 (estimate)

Population Density
2000 - 50.3 persons per square mile

Per capita - $17,646 (1999)
Median Household - $35,634 (2003)



Official Oklahoma State Website

Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation
120 N. Robinson Avenue, 6th Floor
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73152
Phone: (405) 230-8400
Toll-free: (800) 652-6552

Oklahoma Department of Commerc

Oklahoma State Parks

Oklahoma is governed by a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Senators serve four-year terms and House members serve two year terms. Term limits are in place for the state limiting members to a total of twelve years of service in one or both bodies.

Government Links page for Oklahoma
Great links page for all levels of government in Oklahoma


Oklahoma Arts Council
The official state agency for support and development of the arts in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce
330 N.E. 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104-3220
Phone: (405) 235-3669;
Fax: (405) 235-3670


A page about the symbols of the State of Oklahoma

Good history page for Oklahoma

Governor's of Oklahoma

Great links and information on Oklahoma History


State Fair Of Oklahoma
500 Land Rush St
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Phone: 405-948-6700


US GenWeb page for Oklahoma - tons of information for Oklahoma research.

Oklahoma Historical Society
History Center
2401 N. Laird Ave
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105.


Oklahoma Higher Education


Oklahoma Tribes and Officials
Contact information including, postal addresses, phone and FAX numbers. (Some also include active URL's.)

State Museum Of History
2401 N. Laird Avenue
Oklahoma City OK 73105
Phone: (405) 522-5248
Phone: (405) 522-5204

Oklahoma Route 66 Association
P.O. Box 446
Chandler, OK 74834
Phone: 405.258.0008

Great Plains Country - regional website for southwestern Oklahoma
Frontier Country - regional website for central Oklahoma
Green Country - regional website for northeastern Oklahoma
Kiamichi Country - regional website for southeastern Oklahoma
Red Carpet Country - regional website for northwest Oklahoma


Find the weather for anyplace in the USA


This page was created 13 September 1998

This page was last updated 16 June 2012 at 12:28 pm

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