When Was The US State Of Oklahoma Founded?

Welcome sign at the Oklahoma state border.
Welcome sign at the Oklahoma state border.

Oklahoma is located in South Central United States. It is the 20th largest state by area and the 28th largest by population. Historically, Oklahoma arose from an amalgamation between Oklahoma and the Indian territories. In 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state to join the union. The capital city of Oklahoma is Oklahoma City with residents referred to as Oklahomans or ‘Okies’.

Historical Background

Oklahoma’s history dates back to 1541 when a Spanish explorer visited the land in search for the “Lost City of Gold.” This territory would later be integrated into the US through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 with effectively doubled the size of the United States.

The indigenous Mississippi River inhabitants moved into present-day Oklahoma in the 19th century. The migration was necessitated by President Andrew Jackson’s compulsory Indian removal policy order. It came to be known as the "Trail of Tears" due to the forced relocation characterized by hunger, disease, and deaths of about 15,000 indigenous peoples between 1838 and 1839.

Oklahoma Statehood

The momentum towards Oklahoma statehood was propelled by the Land Run of 1889. Following the proclamation made on April 22, 1889, by President Benjamin Harrison, settlers occupied the land on a first come, first served basis. The agreement was that people would wait for the official opening of the occupation of the unassigned lands which happened at noon. Persons who acted contrary to the rule became known as the “Sooners.” At the time, it was not a pleasant name. However, with time the name became acceptable to the general public and eventually became one of Oklahoma's nicknames. After the Land Rush of 1889, the Oklahoma Organic Act of 1890 created the Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. Its main objective was to assimilate all the tribes that occupied these areas and get rid of communal ownership of property.

In 1902, the territorial debate about statehood gained momentum, creating divisions among Congress. Of particular importance was the notion that Oklahoma Territory was too small to warrant a state position. The 1906 Oklahoma Enabling Act resulted in the drafting of a constitution for both the Oklahoma and Indian Territories. The constitution made provisions that would enable in the two territories being admitted into the union as one. Thus, the Oklahoma and Indian Territories were officially disbanded; thereby allowing the state of Oklahoma’s admission to the union as the 46th state of the United States on November 16, 1907.

Political and Socio-Cultural Perspective

The state of Oklahoma has 77 counties and has remained conservative politically as the counties subscribe to the Republicans Party. In the most recent presidential elections, the current US President Donald Trump won majority votes in every county of Oklahoma. On the contrary, former president Barack Obama failed to get votes from any county in the state during the 2008 and 2012 elections. Due to the history of the state as occupied by many tribes, Oklahoma uses varied official languages such as Choctaw and Cherokee. The state had a population of about 4 million in 2018.


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