Last updated on March 9th, 2019
Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and the 20th most extensive of the United States. It lies in the South Central region of the United States. The state attained statehood on November 16, 1907, becoming the 46th state to join the union. It has six (6) bordering states Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, and Kansas. See the full list of states and their borders here. Oklahoma (nicknamed: The Sooner State) has 77 counties. The state’s capital is Oklahoma City. People who live in Oklahoma or who come from Oklahoma are called Oklahomans or Oklahomians. With these facts about Oklahoma, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.
1. The name of the state is derived from the choctaw words “okla” and “humma”, meaning “red people”.
2. In 1889, when the U.S. government had planned to open approximately 2 million acres of land for settlement, many people entered the land before the land’s run designated time. These people were dubbed “sooners.” In 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th American state. The next year the University of Oklahoma’s football team took “Sooners” as its nickname. The expression “sooners” was then embraced as a nickname for the entire state.
3. Did you know that Oklahoma’s state capitol building is the only capitol with an oil well directly underneath it?
4. Did you know that an oil well in Oklahoma erupted for 11 days before being brought under control? The incident happened in 1930 when the Mary Sudik No. 1 well erupted after striking a high-pressure formation of about 6,500 feet beneath the state capital. The well produced an astonishing 20,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.
5. Oklahoma was added to the United States as a part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
6. Cimarron County in Oklahoma is the only county in the United States that borders counties in five different states that include – Kansas, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. And it is also the only county in the nation that borders four states including– Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. (see the map)
Map of Oklahoma
7. The Oklahoma Panhandle consists of three counties – Cimarron (the state’s least populous county), Texas and Beaver, from west to east. The name of the regions comes from its similarity to the shape of a handle of a cooking pan. The region is 166 miles long and just 34 miles wide.
8. The state’s highest point is Black Mesa and the lowest point is Little River.
9. Because of the droughts and high winds that the state suffered during the 1930s, more than a million residents of Oklahoma migrated to California. The migrants were known as “Okies”.
10. After California, Oklahoma has the second largest Native American population in the country.
Flag of Oklahoma
11. Since explorers first visited the territory that became Oklahoma, as many as 14 flags have flown over it including those of four foreign nations.
12. “Golden Driller” in Tulsa, Oklahoma is the sixth tallest statue in the United States. The statue was erected in 1953 to honor the workers of the oil industry. It is 75 foot tall and weighs 19,700 kg. For the most part of the 20th century, Tulsa, Oklahoma was known as the “Oil Capital of the World”.
13. Oklahoma is the fifth most obese state in the U.S.
14. “The Oklahoman” is the largest newspaper in the state and the 54th largest in the nation by circulation.
15. Tornadoes are common in the state. Between 1950 and 2017, Oklahoma has been hit by 3824 tornadoes. Thus, on an average, the state was hit by at least 56 tornadoes each year. For more data about tornadoes in the region, explore this source.
Oklahoma state quarter
16. The world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, was installed in the business district of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on 16 July 1935.
17. In 2007, the Longest lightning flash spanned a distance of 321 km (199.5 miles) horizontally from Tulsa near the Arkansas/Oklahoma border to the Oklahoma Panhandle above the United States.
18. The Bison was named the state mammal of Oklahoma in 1972. The animal has the ability to jump 6 feet vertically and it can run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. It was also named the national mammal of the United States in 2016.
19. Kaw Lake in northern Oklahoma is home to one of the state’s largest populations of bald eagles. The largest bird’s nest was built by a pair of bald eagles, near St Petersburg, Florida, USA and measured 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in) wide and 6 m (20 ft) deep.[18,19]
20. Did you know that Lottie Williams from Tulsa, Oklahoma is the only person who has ever been hit with space trash? On January 22, 1997, she was hit by a 6-inch-long piece of a rocket. She did not sustain any injuries as the rocket hit her shoulder. Note that your odds of actually getting hit are about one in a trillion (the odds that you’ll get hit by lightning are one in 1.4 million).
21. With more than 200, Oklahoma has the largest number of man-made lakes of any state in the United States.
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