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On April 22, 1889, thousands of Americans rushed into unclaimed territory in what is now known as the Oklahoma Land Rush.
 
About two million acres of what the government called “Unassigned Lands” had recently been opened for settlement. These lands had previously been “Indian Territory” occupied by the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole people. 
 
The Oklahoma Land Rush drew about 50,000 people. At noon, they rushed into the Unassigned Lands on foot, on horseback, on bicycles, and in wagons. Some people actually cheated and hid in the Unassigned Lands before they officially opened for settlement—these were the “Sooners,” now a nickname for Oklahomans.
 
Sooners and other settlers were rushing to establish homesteads. Settlers could claim up to 160 acres for a homestead. As long as the settler stayed on the land and improved it—through agriculture, residency, or industry—they would own it.
 
The population in what is now the state of Oklahoma swelled. The towns of Oklahoma City and Guthrie did not exist before April 22. By the end of the day, they each had 10,000 residents. Within a month, the region had working schools, banks, and newspapers. Within a year, the region was renamed the “Oklahoma Territory.”
Noun

the art and science of cultivating land for growing crops (farming) or raising livestock (ranching).

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

homestead
Noun

area of land including a dwelling and any outbuildings, such as barns.

industry
Noun

activity that produces goods and services.

previous
Adjective

earlier, or the one before.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

settlement
Noun

community or village.

territory
Noun

land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.

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