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Oklahoma (pronounced: /ˌoʊkləˈhoʊmə/) is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With 3,579,212 residents in 2006, it is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state by land area. Its name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people," and is known informally by its nickname, The Sooner State. Formed by the combination of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory on November 16, 1907, it was the 46th state to enter the union. Its people are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

A major producer of oil and food, Oklahoma is also an important manufacturer of aircraft parts and a leader in biotechnology. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, leading in gross domestic product growth and ranking third among states in per capita income growth. Nearly 65 percent of Oklahomans live in the metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and the cities serve as primary economic centers of the state. Six universities ranked high for academic achievement are located in the state, and two rate among the best college sports programs in American history.

Made up of small mountain ranges, prairie, and eastern forests, Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains and Ozark Highlands in a region prone to severe weather, holding the most ecologically diverse terrain in the nation, with more ecoregions per mile than any other state. With a prevalence of German, Irish, and Native American ancestry, more than 25 native languages are spoken in the state, the most in the nation. It is located at a confluence of three major cultural regions, historically serving as a route for cattle drives, a destination for southern settlers, and a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans. Part of a strip of conservative political views and widespread beliefs in Christianity known as the Bible Belt.

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Great seal of the cherokee nation.svg

The Cherokee are a people from North America, who at the time of European contact in the 1600s, inhabited what is now the Eastern and Southeastern United States. Most were forcibly moved westward to the Ozark Plateau. They were one of the tribes referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, they are the most numerous of the 563 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.

Of the southeastern Indian confederacies of the late 1600s and early 1700s (Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, etc), the Cherokee were one of the most populous and powerful, and were relatively isolated due to their hilly and mountainous homeland. Beginning at about the time of the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, divisions over continued accommodation of encroachments by white settlers, despite repeated violations of previous treaties, caused some Cherokee to begin to leave the Cherokee Nation. Many of these dissidents became known as the Chickamauga. Led by Chief Dragging Canoe, the Chickamauga made alliances with the Shawnee and engaged in raids against colonial settlements (see Chickamauga Wars). Some of these early dissidents eventually moved across the Mississippi River to areas that would later become the states of Arkansas and Missouri. Their settlements were established on the St. Francis and the White Rivers by 1800.

The Trail of tears displaced the Cherokee's from their ancestral lands in North Georgia and the Carolinas to Oklahoma. In 1887 the Dawes Act broke up the tribal land base. Under the Curtis Act of 1898, Cherokee courts and governmental systems were abolished by the U.S. Federal Government. (Read more . . . )

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Norman, is the county seat and largest city in Cleveland County, and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area. Norman is situated approximately 20 miles south of downtown Oklahoma City and is the third largest city in the state. As of 2006, the city was estimated to have 102,827 full-time residents. It is the business and employment center of Cleveland County.

Norman is best known as the location of the University of Oklahoma (with about 35,000 full-time students), making it a center of culture, technology, and scientific research. OU is home to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, one of the largest of its kind, and the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art.

Norman is a prominent center of meteorological research, specifically severe weather. The National Weather Center, located on OU's Research Campus near State Highway 9 and Jenkins Avenue, houses several NOAA organizations, including the Storm Prediction Center and the National Severe Storms Laboratory, along with the University's weather-related units including the School of Meteorology. Private sector meteorological companies are located alongside the 2006 facility at "Partners Place". (Read more...)

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Prayer Tower on the campus of Oral Roberts University.jpg
Credit: User:Kralizec!
The Prayer Tower is located in the center of the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Did you know...

Oklahoma State Highway 66.svg
  • ...that Tulsa is often considered the birthplace of U.S. Route 66?
  • ...that Oklahoma has the longest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation?
  • ...that in 1927, Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery, known the "Father of Route 66," proposed using an existing stretch of highway from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa for the original portion of Highway 66?
  • ...that Oklahoman Cyrus Avery spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, the organization that oversaw the planning and creation of Route 66, and he placed the organization's headquarters in Tulsa?

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State facts

State symbols:

The Scissortail Flycatcher, Oklahoma's state bird

Selected biography

Chuck Norris in Iraq in 2006.jpg

Carlos "Chuck" Norris, born March 10, 1940 in Ryan, Oklahoma, is an American martial artist, action star, and Hollywood actor who is best known for playing Cordell "Cord" Walker on Walker, Texas Ranger, his training with Bruce Lee and for his iconically tough image.

After High School Norris joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman in 1958 and was sent to Osan Air Base, South Korea. It was in South Korea that Norris acquired the nickname Chuck and began his training in Tang Soo Do (tangsudo), an interest that would lead to black belts in that art and the founding of the Chun Kuk Do ("Universal Way") form. He also created the education associations United Fighting Arts Federation and "KickStart" (formerly "Kick Drugs Out of America"), a middle school and high school–based program intended to give at-risk children a focus point in life through the martial arts. When he returned to the United States, he continued to act as an AP at March Air Force Base California. Norris was discharged in August of 1962. He worked for the Northrop Corporation and opened a chain of karate schools, which Chad McQueen, Steve McQueen's son, attended. (Read more...)

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