U.S. Senator James Inhofe
United States Senator, Oklahoma
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Constituent Services - Learn More About Oklahoma
Oklahoma is one of the youngest states in the nation. On November 16, 1907 it was the 46th state to attain statehood.  Though this is the official date of the statehood of Oklahoma, its history dates back far before then.  The land that would become Oklahoma was a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Beginning in the 1820s, the Five Civilized Tribes from the southeastern United States were relocated to Indian Territory over numerous routes, the most famous being the Cherokee "Trail of Tears." Forced off their ancestral lands by state and federal governments, the tribes suffered great hardships during the rigorous trips west.  The survivors eventually recovered from the dislocation through hard work and communal support. Gradually, new institutions and cultural adaptations emerged and began a period of rapid developments often called the "Golden Age" of Indian Territory.
 Following the destruction of the Civil War, Oklahoma became a part of the booming cattle industry, ushering in the era of the cowboy. Western expansion reached the territory in the late 1800s, sparking a controversy over the fate of the land. Treaties enacted after the Civil War by the U.S. government forced the tribes to give up their communal lands and accept individual property allotments to make way for expansion. There was also talk of using Indian Territory for settlement by African Americans emancipated from slavery.  The government relented to pressure, much of it coming from a group known as "Boomers," who wanted the rich lands opened to non-Indian settlement. The government decided to open the western parts of the territory to settlers by holding a total of six land runs between 1889 and 1895.  Settlers came from across the nation as well as from other parts of the world to stake their claims.  Oklahoma’s statehood came on the heels of the discovery of vast stores of oil throughout the state.  People came from all over to “strike it rich” and cities like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ponca City, and Bartlesville thrived due to the influx. 
The name "Oklahoma" comes from the Choctaw words: "okla" meaning people and "humma" meaning red, so the state's name literally means "red people." The state’s capitol is located in Oklahoma City. According to 2000 U.S. census data, Oklahoma’s population is 3,450,654, making it the 28th most populated state in the Union.  Oklahoma’s 43 colleges and universities serve this growing population. Oklahoma currently has the largest American Indian population of any state.  Over 252,000 currently live in Oklahoma, many of which are descendents of the original 67 tribes, including the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, Osage, Cheyenne, Sac and Fox, Delaware, Apache, and Pawnee. 
Today, Oklahoma continues to benefit not only from its cultural diversity, but also from its wealth of natural resources.  Oklahoma has a land area of 69,919 square miles and ranks 18th in the nation in size.  It is the third largest natural gas-producing state in the nation and it enjoys the status of ranking fourth in the nation in the production of wheat as well as cattle and calf production. It can also boast in its pecan, peanut, and peach productions.  Oklahoma has more man-made lakes that any other state, with over one million surface areas of water and 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined. Twenty-four percent of the sate is covered by forests and it has four mountain ranges including the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas, and the Kiamichis. 

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