The first humans may have arrived in what is now Oklahoma 30,000 years ago. Many thousands of years later, this land was inhabited by Indian tribes, including the Plains Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Wichita, Kiowa, and Osage. Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado traveled the region in 1541 in search of the legendary cities of gold. By the 1700s, both Spanish and French explorers and traders arrived in the area. Both France and Spain controlled some areas for some time. Then in 1800 the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte purchased the land from Spain. Three years later, he sold the Louisiana Territory (a huge piece of land, including present-day Oklahoma) to the United States.

Geography of Oklahoma

In the 1830s, many Native Americans were forced to leave their homeland in the eastern United States and move to what is now Oklahoma, which was then called Indian Territory. In the 1890s, part of Indian Territory became Oklahoma Territory. Then in 1907, the Indian Territory and the Oklahoma Territory were merged again to become the State of Oklahoma. Today, members of over 30 tribes still live in Oklahoma. The word Oklahoma is a combination of two words in the Choctaw language spoken by the Choctaw. In 1889, settlers were allowed to race in parts of Oklahoma and claim land for themselves. But some managed to get to these places before the territory was officially opened to them. They were called “quickly”, which eventually became the state’s nickname: “Speedy State”.

Geography of Oklahoma

According to, Oklahoma is bordered by Colorado and Kansas to the north, Missouri and Arkansas to the east, Texas to the south, and New Mexico to the west. The state can be divided into 10 different geographical regions. The Ozark Plateau is in the northeast. It includes a small portion of the Ozark mountain range, which contains ridges, steep valleys, caves, and sinkholes. To the northeast are the prairie plains, fertile farmlands where animals graze. To the southeast is the Ouachita Mountains region, which includes the Ouachita National Forest (part of this forest is also in Arkansas). East-central Oklahoma contains the Sandstone Hills region with low rocky hills. In south-central Oklahoma, the Arbuckle Mountains are one of the oldest ranges in North America, dating back 1.3 billion years. They were badly washed out or worn out. Head southwest to reach the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, the state’s largest wildlife sanctuary. The Red River Valley runs along the Oklahoma-Texas border. In addition to the Red River, which forms a winding border between the two states, this area has sandy, fertile soil and some forests. In the center of the state is the largest land area in Oklahoma – the Red Bed Plains with gentle hills of red sandstone and shale. Further west are the Gypsum Hills, low hills covered with up to 20 feet of glittering gypsum, a soft mineral. The high plains are flat grasslands in the northwest. They include the Oklahoma Pen, a 34-mile wide strip that extends west under Colorado. This is the highest and driest part of the state.

Wildlife of Oklahoma

Pronghorn antelopes, American bison, armadillos, and coyotes are just a few of Oklahoma’s mammals. Bird watchers may look for greater roadfinders, rufous woodpeckers, and scissor flycatchers. Oklahoma is home to amphibians such as gray tree frogs and Woodhouse toads (the state’s largest toad). Reptiles include copperhead snakes, snapping turtles and American alligators. Common trees that grow here include red maple, sugar gum, Ponderosa pine, hickory, and eastern redbud (Oklahoma’s state tree). The cone, the button, the Indian blanket, and the ghost flower are some of the state’s wildflowers.


Population: 384,037 thousand people (2007)
Area: 483.8 sq. km
Time zone: UTC-6, summer UTC-5
Altitude: 194 m

Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma, located on the left bank of the Arkansas River. The part of the Great Prairies where Tulsa lies is called the Cross Timbers. Here there is a mixture of steppes with savannahs and dry forests. The famous route 66, also called the “Mother of the Roads”, passes through the city.┬áSee Oklahoma cities.

The territory of modern Tulsa was settled between 1828 and 1836, when the Lachapoca Indians (a clan of the Creek tribe) arrived here, forced to leave their ancestral lands in the southeastern United States. The site of the foundation of the settlement – “Council of Screams at the Oak” – is now a national historical landmark and represents a whole park and museum complex headed by a large oak. The settlement was originally called Tallasi, which in the language of the screams meant “old city”. Later it was transformed into Tulsa.

Until the 20th century, Tulsa was an inconspicuous town in the district of the same name. In 1901, oil reserves were discovered near the city and the first well was opened. In a short time, the population of the city increased many times, and Tulsa itself received the unofficial nickname of the “oil capital of the world.” Thanks to the power of the energy industry, the city painlessly survived the Great Depression of the early 1930s.

There are also tragic pages in the history of Tulsa. In 1921, racial riots took place here: 23 blacks and 16 whites were killed, and more than 800 people were injured, many houses and buildings were burned. However, by the early 1950s, Tulsa had corrected its reputation and was among the most livable cities in the country. A significant role in this was played by the Route 66 Association, which since the 1920s has been engaged in arranging the highway for tourist needs.

Tulsa has a lot to see and do. Among the architectural sights, the Neo-Gothic skyscraper with art deco elements Filtower (1928), the 61-meter Prayer Tower (1967), individual buildings (for example, the McFarlin Library) of the University of Tulsa stand out. It should be noted the Sherwin Miller Museum, which contains a collection of Jewish art, as well as parks in Tulsa. Particularly distinguished is Woodward Park, on the territory of which there is an equestrian statue of an Indian an equestrian statue of an Indian “Appeal to the Great Spirit”.


Geography of Oklahoma
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