Oklahoma State Overview

By | October 5, 2022

In the central part of the United States of America lies the federal state of Oklahoma, which was annexed to the Union on November 16, 1907. The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw Indian language and translates to “red people” – so it is the land of the red people. However, the name was coined by a Native American missionary, Allen Wrighet, who combined the two words.

In the past, numerous Indian tribes lived on this territory, Oklahoma was also one of the last states where these people could live freely. In the 16th century, Spanish settlers were the first Europeans to get here. Over time, however, the Oklahoma territory was ceded to France. In 1830, mass resettlement of Indians began, thousands of them came here from the north and coastal areas. Many were killed during these journeys, but eventually the state of Oklahoma was recognized as exclusively Native American. The largest and most numerous tribes included the Delaware, Comanche, Kayo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole.

The Indians gradually began to build cities here, creating for example Tulsa, Tahlequah or Muskogee. As soon as the American Civil War broke out, there were also conflicts between individual tribes, because some of them began to support the Confederacy and thus slavery. After several protracted and bloody battles, the confederacy was finally defeated, the allied tribes punished, and slavery abolished. There was even consideration of returning the slaves back to Africa, but it never happened. In 1886, it was decided that part of the Indian territory would serve the white settlers – they were given 2 million acres of land. The state was thus divided into two parts, one Indian and the other white. However, on November 16, 1907, the two parts merged and Oklahoma became the 46th US state.

A large influx of whites was recorded at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when rich deposits of oil and natural gas were discovered here. The state became very prosperous and flourished thanks to mining. However, during the Great Depression of 1929, the state’s economy was dependent on agriculture and every bit of land was used. However, non-ecological treatment resulted in the devastation of nature. To make matters worse, Oklahoma was hit by big storms in the 1930s and the soil eroded due to improper plowing. The inhabitants then left the country en masse in search of better living conditions. Rather, socially weaker individuals remained here, trying to survive in this misery. This led to the creation of many “black towns” where whites were forbidden to enter. There were racial riots, the Ku Klux Klan was also active here condemning blacks, Jews and Catholics.

This unfavorable situation began to calm down after World War II, when millions of tons of new soil were brought into the country and a sophisticated irrigation system was also built. Oklahoma was gradually getting back to normal and a lot of people came back. Today, Oklahoma is a developed and prosperous state. In 1995, a terrible tragedy took place in Oklahoma City, when war veteran Timothy James McVeigh carried out a bomb attack on the federal building there, killing 168 people. He was sentenced to death for this act.

Oklahoma has a population of around 3.5 million, of which about 76% are white, 8% are Native American, 7.5% are black, and the rest are mixed race and Asian. The population density is 30.5 inhabitants per square kilometer. The landscape is covered by the prairies of the Great Plains, so it is flat and a semi-desert stretches to its northwest. To the east rises the Ouachita Mountains, with the highest peak, Black Mesa, measuring 1,515 meters above sea level. The Arkansas River, Canadian River and Red River flow through the territory. Numerous lakes have also formed here, such as Lake Texoma, Eufaula Lake, Lake Hudson, Lake O’ the Cherokees, Gibson Lake, Oologah Lake, and Keystone Lake.

The main industries include the extraction of fuels, especially oil, natural gas and coal, the extraction of non-ferrous metal ores and salt. In addition to petroleum products, industrial products include transport equipment, electrical products, rubber and plastics. In agriculture, the cultivation of wheat, corn, millet, cotton, cattle, pigs and sheep is important.

The capital and largest city is Oklahoma City, which was founded in 1889 and has over half a million people. Other cities of interest include Tulsa, Norman, Lawton, Broken Arrow, Edmond, Midwest City, Enid, Moore and Stillwater.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Chickasaw is a group of native Indian inhabitants of the North American continent. They inhabited mainly the southeast of the USA, i.e. the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. This tribe ranks under the Muskogean-type language groups. Native American tribes inhabited the entire Mississippi Valley River area. Even before the arrival of the first Europeans, the Chickasaws moved east and settled along the banks of the Mississippi River.

The Chickasaw tribe was one of the five so-called civilized tribes who were eventually forced to sell their territories and in 1832 were pushed out of them into designated Indian reservations. Currently, most of the descendants of people of this tribe live in the state of Oklahoma. This nation is considered the thirteenth largest federally recognized tribe in the United States. Today, it lives peacefully alongside the white and black population. The Chickasaws themselves are further divided into two groups: Impsaktea and Intcutwalipa.

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area was established in Oklahoma to protect diverse natural resources. There are unique plants, animals and geological formations that have escaped the external pressures of human activity. The combination of these unique resources guarantees the area sufficient attractiveness. Also protected by the Chickasaw Recreation Area are densely forested hills, springs, streams, lakes, and other places suitable for swimming, fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, and hiking. There is no entrance fee to enter the park.

In 1902, the Sulfur Springs Reservation was declared at this location, which was renamed Platt National Park four years later. In 1976, several parcels of land and the Arbuckle Recreation Area were added to the park, creating this extensive recreation area collectively known as the Chickasaw NRA, which is managed by the National Park Service. Today, this park covers an area of 40 km2 and water bodies occupy 9.75 km2.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area