Oklahoma Scenic Byways
The Sooner State
Oklahoma is in the South Central region of the United States and is bordered by six other states. This state is the 20th most expensive and the 28th most populous of the United States, and its residents are colloquially known as “Okies.” Interestingly enough, this state has nothing to do with the famed oak tree, and instead gets its name from the Choctaw words meaning “honored people.”
Oklahoma’s largest city and its capital is Oklahoma City, making it one of the easiest state capitals to remember in case of a game of trivia. Oklahoma was the 46th state to enter the union in 1907. Interestingly enough, Oklahoma is home to a wide range of different weather systems and climate segments, with 11 distinct climates found within the state. A majority of its topography goes from mountainous with the Ozark Mountains, to flat with the Great Prairie. This makes it an excellent place to explore with an ATV.
Another interesting fact: 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma. This is not surprising, as this region is home to five major Native American reservations.
Oklahoma has been home to indigenous people as early as the last Ice Age, with ancestors of the Wichita and several other native tribes making their home within what is now Oklahoma. Europeans may have walked through this area as early as 1541, with the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, from Spain. However, this area was largely claimed by the French in the early 18th century, until the territory was purchased in 1803 by the United States. Oklahoma was originally part of the Louisiana purchase, giving an idea of just how much territory was included in that purchase. An unfortunate part of American history is that Oklahoma became home to thousands of forcibly removed Native Americans from all across North America. By 1890, more than 30 Native American nations and tribes had been relocated within what was then known as Indian territory and would later become part of Oklahoma. This high concentration of Native Americans, as well as the further removal of native lands by the Dawes Act, lead to the first attempt to create the state of Oklahoma, which was to be an all Native American state. However, while the proposed all Native American state was not passed, Oklahoma did become a state in 1907.
Those looking to visit Oklahoma today can learn more about the interesting history that makes up this state, including the tragedy of the Dust Bowl, as well as this state’s history with oil production as well as cattle ranching. Those a little less interested in history will find that there are plenty of natural areas to explore within the state, including the Ozark mountains. Those looking to climb the world’s tallest Hill can visit Cavanal Hill, which is one foot short of being considered a mountain. Of course, as with every other state on our list, there are plenty of beautiful scenic drives to take you to the heart of this state, allowing you to experience the natural flora and fauna from the comfort of your car. No matter what brings you to Oklahoma, you’re sure to be fascinated by this integral part of American history.