The State and Its People
SINCE OKLAHOMA was not admitted ' as a state until 1907, many people assume that its history must be both short and simple. It is not. Oklahoma's recorded history began in 1541,when a small group of Spanish soldiers under the leadership of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado traversed its western prairies. Certain members of this little army have left us accounts of the expedition describing their adventures and what they saw and accomplished. Far from being simple, the history of the state is very complex; at the same time, it is a most colorful and romantic story. At one time no less than seven separate and distinct governments and codes of law were in operation within its present limits, each applying to a considerable area and a fairly large number of people. Also, at one time, an eighth area, the Panhandle, larger than some states of the Union, had neither government nor law of any kind except what might be administered by the central government of the United States.
Oklahoma is peculiarly a "border land," or marginal area, since it is not entirely northern, southern, eastern, or western. Broadly speaking, its boundary states are Texas on the South and west, Kansas on the north, and Arkansas on the east. Missouri, however, forms some forty miles of its eastern boundary, and the long strip in the northwest, called the Panhandle, touches for a number of miles the states of New Mexico and Colorado. Its area is slightly over 70,000 miles, which