Oklahoma is a state located in the south-central region of the United States. Its nickname is the "Sooner State", and is part of a region commonly known as the American "Heartland." Oklahoma City is the state's capital and largest city. The Congressional Quarterly and Census report places Oklahoma in the Southern United States.
Oklahoma became the 46th state in the Union on November 16, 1907. The state's name comes from the Choctaw words okla meaning people and homma meaning red, literally meaning "red people" and was chosen by Allen Wright, Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation during the 1866 treaty negotiations. Oklahoma was almost named Sequoyah in honor of Sequoyah, the Cherokee who created the Cherokee syllabary, which gave the Cherokees a way to write and read their own language.
It is a state with a colorful history, including as a frontier state, as the destination of recently freed slaves looking for opportunity and equality, and as the heart of the oil boom in the early 20th century.
The state's early history is dominated by the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from the southeastern United States to then Indian Territory. The western and native American heritage of the state is a large part of its cultural identity; for example, Tulsa is the home to the largest, most comprehensive collection of American Western art and artifacts in the world, housed in the Gilcrease Museum.
Today, Oklahoma contains more native American tribal headquarters than any other state, as well as the nation's second largest American Indian population.
Oklahoma is a major fuel and food-producing state; thousands of oil and natural gas wells dot the Oklahoma landscape, and the state is among the highest food producing states in the nation. Its main agricultural outputs are soy, wheat, cattle, dairy, poultry, and cotton. Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation in the production of all wheat, fourth in cattle and calf production; fifth in the production of pecans; sixth in peanuts and eighth in peaches. Its industrial outputs are transportation equipment, machinery, electric products, rubber and plastic products, and food processing. Its 1999 total gross state product was $86 billion, placing it 29th in the nation. The state's 2000 per capita personal income was $23,517, 43rd in the nation. However, Oklahoma's cost of living index also among the lowest in the nation. Oklahoma City suburb Nichols Hills is ranked first on Oklahoma locations by per capita income at $73,661.
Dam forming Broken Bow Lake.Oklahoma City is one of the primary economic engines of the state, centered on the finance, retail, governance, entertainment, and tourism sectors. The city has numerous manufacturing and processing plants as well as a growing biotech research and health center. Oklahoma City has a large aviation market and its location at the intersection of I-35, I-40, and I-44 makes Oklahoma City an important distribution point.
Oklahoma City is home to many corporate and regional headquarters including Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Sonic Drive-In, AT&T, The Hertz Corporation, BancFirst, OGE Energy, Midfirst Bank, Hobby Lobby, Dobson Communications, Express Personnel Services, Oklahoma Publishing Company, Spectro Wire & Cable, Inc., Rainbo Manufacturing, Globe Life and Accident Insurance, Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., and Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce.
Tulsa is another primary economic engine of the state, centered on energy, aerospace, telecommunications, and transportation. The city has the nation's most inland sea port and Oklahoma's only connection to the ocean, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, which connects the state with international ocean trade routes through the Arkansas River and Mississippi River. Despite an oil bust that plagued the entire state in the 1980s, Tulsa is still among the top cities in the nation for the number of oil and energy related company headquarters. Tulsa is also home to an extensive aviation market, exemplified by its American Airlines maintenance center, the largest airline maintenance base in the world.
Recently, Forbes magazine rated Tulsa as second in the nation in job income growth, and one of the best 50 cities to do business in the country.
Companies based in Tulsa include The NORDAM Group, BOK Financial Corporation (BOKF), Bank of Oklahoma, Williams Companies, Oneok, Wiltel, QuikTrip, Public Service of Oklahoma, Mazzio's Corporation, RibCrib, SemGroup, Dollar-Thrifty, Hilti USA, and Vanguard.
Both of Oklahoma's major metropolitan areas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, are engaged in large-scale economic development and tourism initiatives.
Joel Clark (me)