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Rush for Oklahoma: Control of Indian Territories
In 1889, hundreds of thousands of European settlers divided Indian lands among themselves by taking part in the Land Run, a furious cavalcade across the plains of Oklahoma.
Their goal ?
Get hold of land offered for settlement. 8,000 square kilometers of land to be colonized
The principle is as simple as it is astounding: the plots of land will be allocated free of charge to the settlers on a “first come, first served” basis.
This Land Run of April 22, 1889 remains one of the most mind-boggling - and brutal - episodes of the conquest of the West.
In the year 1889, the great explorations of the American West were drawing to a close. The gold rush and the construction of the transcontinental railroad were a thing of the past.
The central Great Plains region (Montana to Texas) had been colonized, notably under the Homestead Act of 1862, a law giving European farmers ownership of the land they occupied after driving out the Indians.
Today's Oklahoma was a special case. Called then Indian Territory, it was the last refuge of the Amerindians after decades of violence and displacement of populations.
To be an owner, it was enough to arrive first on a piece of land, to take possession of it by planting a pole on the ground on which was written "This land is mine".
Cities raised from the ground in one day. The next day, the first solid buildings were erected: banks, saloons, gambling houses…
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