Spanish and French Claimants
THE EARLY HISTORY of Oklahoma is only a part of the history of a much greater region, the Mississippi Valley, of which the state forms an integral part. Portions of this valley were at one time or another explored, or at least claimed, by three European nations, Spain, France, and England.
As the fifteenth century drew to a close all three countries were emerging from the more or less chaotic conditions of the Middle Ages and fast forming themselves into strong nation states. The sovereign, or sovereigns, of each had started at approximately the same time to achieve the same objective--the building of a powerful centralized monarchy upon the ruins of a feudal anarchy. Then, each set to work to widen his sphere of influence by the establishment of a colonial empire in the new lands beyond the sea.
Spain, the first European nation to enter the New World, had for centuries consisted of no less than five separate countries, each under its own constitution and laws. The marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabella of Castile was the first step toward the unification of these diverse and scattered states. In 1474 the death of Isabella's brother, Henry, gave them possession of Castile and Leon, and five years later, upon the death of Ferdinand's father, John of Aragon, they secured Catalonia and Valencia.
The two young rulers at once set to work to consolidate the widely scattered portions of their realm and to give to their people strong and efficient government. They succeeded ad-