Oklahoma’s rich history is full of controversy and resilience, and its people have helped shape the way we live today. Continue reading to learn 20 interesting facts about the country’s 46th state.
1 Oklahoma was originally established as Indian Territory. However, in 1889, the region was opened to settlers and the "land rush" began. At the beginning of the first day of settling, a certain number of settlers were allowed to stake claim to land. Cheaters who tried to beat the strict start time were known as "sooners." This is how Oklahoma received its nickname.
2 The state of Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state in the country. The state totals more than one million surface acres of water.
3 Oklahoma has more than 55,000 miles of shoreline due to its man-made lakes and reservoirs.
4 Today, Oklahoma has the largest Native American population in the country with around 250,000. The state of Oklahoma is also the tribal headquarters for 39 Native American tribes.
5 Oklahoma receives its name from two Choctaw words: "okla," meaning people, and "humma," meaning red.
6 Oklahoma is known for its devastating tornadoes. The first official "tornado warning" was issued in Oklahoma in 1948.
7 Per square mile, Oklahoma has the most tornadoes in the country.
8 Oklahoma is the third largest producer of iodine in the world.
9 Cimarron County, Oklahoma is the only county in the country that touches four different states: Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, and Colorado.
10 Oklahoma was one of the states hit hardest during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s.
11 Oklahoma officially became the 46th U.S. state on November 16, 1907.
12 Oklahoma has been home to more astronauts than any other state.
13 Oklahoma has been home to many modern inventions of everyday life including the parking meter, the shopping cart, and the aerosol can.
14 The Oklahoma state bird is the scissor-tailed flycatcher and the state flower is the mistletoe.
15 Oklahoma lent its name to the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!" Since then, 'Oklahoma!" has been named the state's official state song.
16 Oklahoma's state economy largely depends on agricultural products (cattle, poultry, wheat) and transportation equipment.
17 Famous Oklahoma natives include Reba McEntire, Ron Howard, Brad Pitt, Garth Brooks, Chuck Norris, and Kristin Chenoweth.
18 Oklahoma's state flag is the same color of the flag that the Choctaw carried during the American Civil War.
19 Oklahoma saw more 3.0 magnitude earthquakes in 2014 than any other state in the country.
20 The Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City.