APRIL 22, 1889


At high noon, settlers made a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land in Indian Territory.  Once considered worthless land suitable only for relocating Native Americans to make way for white settlement, by the 1890s, improved agricultural and ranching techniques led whites to see Indian Territory as valuable and they pressed to allow settlement in the region. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison agreed and chose to open a 1.9 million-acre section of Indian Territory that the government had never assigned to any specific tribe.  [Subsequent openings of sections designated to specific tribes were achieved primarily through the Dawes Severalty Act (1887)].  From 50,000 to 60,000 settlers (“Boomers”) entered the territory that day.  [Those who entered before the legal date and time were called “Sooners”].  By 1905, whites owned most of the land in Indian Territory.  Two years later, the area entered the Union as a part of the new state of Oklahoma.

Source:  “The Oklahoma Land Rush Begins,” History.com, 11/16/2009.  Retrieved 6/28/2019, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-oklahoma-land-rush-begins
Picture:  Author unknown, 4/22/1889.  McClenny Family Picture Album.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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