During the Civil War
many of the Indians belonging to the Five Civilized Nations in the Indian Territory
espoused the cause of the Confederacy
and took up arms against the United States
At the close of the war the government declared that by these acts
of hostility the grants and patents by which the tribes held their extensive domains had become invalid, and a readjustment of the treaty acts under which these grants had been made was ordered.
By the conditions of this new adjustment the Indians were permitted to sell to the United States
a vast tract of unused lands in the central and western part of their territory.
Several millions of acres were bought by the government, for the purpose of making a place of settlement for freedmen and several Indian tribes.
Included in this tract was Oklahoma
, which originally consisted of about 2,000,000 acres in the centre of the territory.
It remained for several years unoccupied, being closed to white immigrants because, as its former owners, the Creeks
it had been purchased for another purpose.
In 1889 the government bought it a second time from the Creeks
, paying a much higher price, but obtaining it without any restrictive conditions.
For ten years companies of adventurers, called “boomers,” under the lead of Capt. David L. Payne
, had been hovering on the outskirts of the territory, and now and then stealing across the border for the purpose of making settlements on the forbidden lands.
As often as they had thus trespassed, however, they were promptly driven out again by the United States troops.
A proclamation was issued by the President
, April 22, 1889, opening 1,900,000 acres of land for settlement.
There was immediately a grand rush into the territory by the “boomers,” and by thousands of home-seekers and speculators.
In a single day the city of Guthrie
, with a population of 10,000, sprang into existence, and all the valuable land was taken up. By subsequent proclamations other lands were opened, and the bounds of the territory were extended until, in 1891, it embraced 39,030 square miles.
A large portion of Oklahoma
, however, remained under the occupancy of Indian tribes, who were under the control of the Indian bureau, and received regular supplies of clothing and food from the government.
Among these tribes were about 500 Sacs and Foxes, 400 Kickapoos, 2,000 Cheyennes, and 1,200 Arapahoes.
when settled was a richly wooded country, except in the west, where there were extensive prairies.
The climate is delightful, and the soil fertile and well adapted to agriculture.
The first territorial governor was appointed by the President
The name Oklahoma
means “Beautiful country.”
The Cherokee Strip or Outlet towards Kansas
was acquired from the Cherokee nation
, and on Sept. 16, 1893, it was opened to settlers.
The scenes attending the opening resembled those in 1889 and 1891. Ninety thousand intending settlers registered, and 20,000, it was estimated, encamped on the site selected for the chief town.
The Strip contains about 6,000,000 acres, part of which is good farming land.
On May 23, 1896, another great section of territory, called the Kickapoo Strip
, was thrown open to settlers, and again there was a wild rush of home-seekers, and in July 1901, the same scenes were enacted in the Kiowa and Comanche
Population in 1890, 61,834; in 1900, 398,331.
See United States, Oklahoma,