The Philadelphia Print Shop West maintains an inventory of original antique maps of Oklahoma and the Indian Territory. The history of these political entities is fascinating and runs from 1824 until Oklahoma statehood in 1907. Click on the button below to see our inventory of original antique maps of Oklahoma and the Indian Territory.
The first appearance of the Indian Territory was in 1824, when Arkansas Territory was shrunk by drawing a line along the longitude line 40 miles west of the southwest corner of Missouri; the lands to west of this were set aside as Indian Territory. For the only time in its history, the Indian Territory actually grew in size between 1828 and 1834. In the former year, the border with Arkansas was pushed eastward because of an 1825 treaty with the Choctaw Indians, which made the border pivot on a point 100 paces east of Fort Smith. Then in 1834, the Indian Intercourse Act stated that the land set aside for the Indians included “…all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Missouri and Louisiana, or the territory of Arkansas…”. This areas did become Indian territory, however, because that same year the Michigan Territory was expanded to the Missouri River, the actual Indian Territory was not as big as stated in the act.
This land was given to the Indians essentially because no one else wanted it. This changed as time went on, with the result that the Indian’s territory was gradually reduced until with Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, it essentially took on the shape of what is today Oklahoma. After the Civil War, and in part because of Indian support for the Confederacy, part of that territory was taken away from the Indians by the Federal Government. This was held by the government, but pressure continued to build by Anglo-Americans to open it up for settlement until finally in 1890 an Oklahoma Territory was created in the western part of what had been the Indian Territory. The citizens of the Indian Territory tried to get admitted as the State of Sequoyah in 1905, but Congress didn’t want to have two states in such a small area–especially if one was dominated by the Indian tribes–so in 1907, the Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory were combined into the state of Oklahoma.