Today in History
November 16, 1907
The Frontier Settles Down
Oklahoma, a panhandled swath of the so-called Indian Territory, becomes the 46th state in the Union. It takes its name from two Choctaw Indian words, "okla" (people) and "humma" (red). Eighteen years earlier, the United States government had invited thousands of white settlers to stake their claim on the West's last "frontier." But the land was not really empty, since throughout the 1800s, the region was populated by thousands of American Indians from different tribes who had been forced out of their lands by the U.S. government—a journey later termed "The Trail of Tears." Over the next century, Oklahoma's population grows to 3.6 million people, 8 percent of whom identify themselves as Indian.
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