Oklahoma, state in the western area of the south central United States. It is bordered by Colorado and Kansas on the north and Missouri and Arkansas on the east. South and west of Oklahoma is Texas, and on the western edge of Oklahoma’s Panhandle lies New Mexico. Oklahoma is a land of great diversity, a transitional state both physically and culturally. Topographically it varies from the wooded mountains of the more humid east to the sparse and dry country of the western plains. The changing landscape of Oklahoma is reflected in its economic activities, which range from the raising of wheat in western and central areas to the lumbering that is carried on in the Ouachita Mountains in the southeastern part of the state.
The name Oklahoma was derived by combining the Choctaw words for “red” and “people.” Part of the state’s area had been originally put aside for settlement of Native Americans and was known as Indian Territory. The other section of the state, Oklahoma Territory, was gradually opened for white settlement toward the end of the 19th century. Oklahoma earned its nickname, the Sooner State, from the fact that some land-hungry settlers, known as the Sooners, jumped the starting gun that was to open one section of the territory to settlers and rushed in to take land before they were legally entitled to do so.
Oklahoma was admitted to the Union on November 16, 1907, as the 46th state. Resulting from the combination of Indian and Oklahoma territories, the state retains marked features of its Native American heritage in the makeup of its population and the Indian place-names in the state. Oklahoma City is the state’s capital and largest city. "Oklahoma" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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