Indian Territory

Prior to the establishment of Oklahoma was located in this area in the western U.S., the Indian Territory. The area extended between 33 ° 35 'and 37 ° north latitude and 94 ° 20' and 98 ° west longitude. It thus comprised approximately 81,320 km ².


By the Royal Proclamation of 1763 the settlement area of ​​European immigrants had been limited to the area east of the Appalachians. However, this rule could not be long maintained, and the development boundary of the Europeans pushed after the American Revolutionary War and especially after the Louisiana Purchase and the Adams - Onís Treaty continues westwards. It was assumed that the areas west of the Mississippi River were in contrast to the eastern part uninhabitable ( " Great American Desert "). President Thomas Jefferson was planning on that gives birth to a settlement zone for Indians. The Mississippi River should separate the immigrants who should live east of the stream by the natives. Throughout the 19th century, the goal was pursued by the American government, to crowd the Native Americans on a smaller and smaller territory. Particularly aggressive President Andrew Jackson went on in the 1830s, under whose reign in 1830 the Indian Removal Act into law, which legitimized the expulsion of all Indians from the territories east of the Mississippi. The relocation took place in a quasi -legal way. Officially resettlement agreements were concluded with the Indians, and no Indian was compelled by the wording of the law to abandon his home.

De facto, but was particularly exercised by the local authorities considerable pressure and so the most determined to resettle. Many, however, felt betrayed because the contracts were negotiated in part by non- representative. The resettlement went partly under catastrophic conditions, so that, for example, on the Trail of Tears ( Trail of Tears ) of the Cherokee were lost thousands of deaths. The new settlement areas were also found to be less fertile than the old and so it came as a result to several Indian uprisings that were defeated militarily.

When, after the Kansas - Nebraska Act were 1854 Kansas and Nebraska territories formed remained only the territory of present-day Oklahoma left as Unorganized Territory, there came into use the parlance " Indian Territory " for it. The individual tribal governments had limited jurisdiction over certain administrative areas, which were assigned to the respective Indian nation. The largest and most important were the areas of the so-called five civilized nations:

  • Cherokee ( government headquarters in Tahlequah )
  • Creek or Muskogee ( seat of government in Okmulgee )
  • Seminoles ( seat of government in Wewoka )
  • Choctaw ( seat of government in Tuskahoma )
  • Chickasaw ( seat of government in Tishomingo )

Smaller areas also had other Indian tribes from the East, such as the Miami, Delaware or Shawnee, as well as local groups such as the Ponca.

Contrary to the assurances that the country should forever belong to the Indians, the western part in 1889 opened for white settlers (Oklahoma Land Run ) and organized in 1890 as Oklahoma Territory. In the years 1902 to 1905, efforts were made to organize the eastern part of Oklahoma as an independent new state of Sequoyah. However, these efforts met with President Theodore Roosevelt to reject and 1907 with the inclusion of Oklahoma into the Union as a state and the rest of the Indian Territory abolished. This new Oklahoma was administered as a unitary state, tribal governments lost their sovereignty.