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When did Oklahoma become a state?

Happy Anniversary to a couple in OK!! Though it's not where they got married, it is where they are building their dream life, and they are well on their way!! I never really gave Oklahoma a thought until I met my sweet friend who is Oklahoma through and through, in the best way possible. Southern drawl (though she will say I'm the one with an accent), family oriented, voice like an angel and loves her friends... everyone else keep your distance. Her husband was raised surfing, but in recent years has developed a keen sense of rockhounding, gold panning and foiling... all things they can do in Oklahoma while raising their sweet girl in the country, or as she would say "God's Country"!

Oklahoma's recorded history began in 1541 when Spanish explorer Coronado ventured through the area on his quest for the "Lost City of Gold." The land that would eventually be known as Oklahoma was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

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.

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 and even other countries like Poland, Germany, Ireland and Slavic nations to stake their claims. And African-Americans, some who were former slaves of Indians, took part in the runs or accepted their allotments as tribal members. In the years that followed, black pioneers founded and settled entire communities in or near Arcadia, Boley, Langston and Taft. Settlers who broke the law and crossed the border sooner than allowed were called “sooners,” which eventually became the state’s nickname.

A Bill (HR 12707) enabling the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government was presented on January 20, 1906. Though the land was separated East and West with Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory respectively, and the Oklahoma and Indian Territories had sufficient population to be admitted as separate states, Congress insisted that the territories would only be granted statehood as a single, combined state. As a result, delegates representing the citizens of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories met in Oklahoma City for a joint statehood convention. They outlined their reasons for statehood (they had sufficient land area, population, resources and character) and drafted a petition to Congress which was presented on March 7, 1906. Statehood had become a sure thing, in part due to a discovery which made Oklahoma the "place to go to strike it rich" -- oil. People came from all parts of the world to seek their fortunes in Oklahoma's teeming oil fields. Cities like Tulsa, Ponca City, Bartlesville and Oklahoma City flourished.

On September 17, 1907 the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories voted favorably on statehood. The vote was certified and delivered to the President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. On November 16, 1907, Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation 780 admitting Oklahoma as the 46th state.

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