Oklahoma Land Rush


The Oklahoma Land Rush

The Oklahoma Land Rush took place in the West. The land that was not claimed by settlers was called Indian Territory. On April 22, 1889 they set off a gun. Thousands and thousands of people rushed to claim 2 million acres of land, that was originally owned(or inhabited), by Native Americans. The land first became known as the Oklahoma Territory in May of 1890. The Territory was mainly between the Mississippi and the Pacific. According to the Homestead Act of 1862, which was signed by President Lincoln, settlers that were legal could claim lots up to 160 acres. After taking the flag that marked the land, the settlers were able to receive the "title" to the land. This was a new beginning for settlers in the West.
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*the image is an illustration of the start of the Oklahoma Land Rush*

How The Land Became Indian Territory

The land was originally inhabited by a variety of tribes such as, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Apache. These tribes where forced into the West by the government, which they called the Indian Removal Act. They took the journey we know as, the Trail of Tears, and headed West of the Mississippi River to find land. They were forced to leave their home and take a journey, of about 2,200 miles to the West. This long journey had devastating effects on the tribes. However, they did their best with what they had, and decided to call the land in the West Indian Territory. However, this land was still technically owned by the government. They started to crop, hunt, and develop the land into their own.

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*this is an image showing you which tribes owned the different areas of land*

The Land Attracting Settlers

Settlers found that the land out West could be valuable, however Native Americans were/ had been already settled on the land. The land itself was considered some of the best unoccupied land in 1889. This is another feature that attracted thousands of settlers, and because of this white settlers decided to pressure the U.S. government into letting white settlement in the West. In 1889 President Harrison agreed to push out the Indians and make room for white settlers to settle. Most of the land was already taken care of because of the Native Americans, but the rest of the land was free and ready to be taken care of and improved. The Indian Appropriation Bill of 1889 was passed by Illinois and then certified by President Benjamin Harrison. The white settlers got their way and 2 million acres of land were set up for grabs. The land included large fields and if you got lucky the land would include a small stream. White settlers thought of this land as a new beginning to life, and a new beginning to living.

Dangers During the Rush

Many people took the land rush seriously. People took their whole families on this rush, even though it was very dangerous. The people who got the best land where often traveling alone. The people who decided to bring their whole family along on the rush, were the people who got to the land last or didn't get land at all. Families normally would travel by wagon, but if the horse that was pulling the wagon, was traveling full speed across uneven ground, it is more than likely that the wagon would have tipped, causing the family damage to goods and even family members. It was very unlikely for families traveling by wagon to win big land. Another danger to traveling by wagon was, the people that could not afford a horse would run, and in order to run and win land, they had to stop others from getting to the land before them. They would tip wagons and hurt the horses just so they could possibly get to the land. There was also a chance that if you were running you could be trampled by wagons and/or horses.
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Land Openings Map Explanation

This is an image of the land openings from the Oklahoma Land Rush. It shows what land each tribe evacuated and left for white settlers and what land was bid on. As you can see most of the land was owned or inhabited by Native Americans. Many tribes are disturbed by the fact that the government wanted them to leave the land that they were forced to move onto. Many tribes were easy to work with, but other tribes decided to fight for their land.

Closing The Frontier

Around the 19th century, everyone in the West was pretty much settled in and there were railroads crossing every which way. There has been multiple cattle and mining booms, which had helped grow the West's population. In 1890 the census have declared that the frontier was closed. The frontier was low land beyond West that was set up for every two people per square mile. Many people have argued that the frontier was something that made the United States unique from foreign countries such as Europe or Asia. Many citizens were very aggravated by the decision of the census. Many people argue that the frontier has helped shape American history and produced productivity and individualism of the United States. Since the frontier was completely gone, many people decided to try and preserve the wilderness. President Benjamin Harrison immediately set aside 13 million acres of land, under legislation, to help citizens preserve the wilderness. The next step was irrigation projects, such as dams, power lines, and aqueducts. These projects without burning energy to the villages by using water, these projects came later in the 20th century, however the closing of the frontier helped develop the West in many ways.
The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893

Video Explanation

This video is about how the Trail of Tears relates to the Oklahoma Land Rush. It also explains how people traveled and why they traveled. It will explain what it was like to be apart of the land rush.

My Reaction

My reaction to the Oklahoma Land Rush, is that it was beneficial to the whites and the government but did not help the Native Americans. I thought it was unfair that the Native Americans were forced out of the land they were originally forced onto. However, it did develop our country and economy. The Land Rush itself was very interesting to research. Just to get new land you could die. You could die form falling off your wagon and being trampled on by running horses or other wagons. Although this trip came with many dangers, it was worth it if the outcome was on your favor. You could get up to 160 acres of land, which created a new beginning for many families. Overall I feel the oklahoma Land Rush was just another step closer to the U.S. as nation. Cultures began to blend, and others began to learn how to do things for themselves without the full help form the government.

Works Cited

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