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This Day In Market History: Oklahoma Land Rush Draws Thousands Of Settlers

This Day In Market History: Oklahoma Land Rush Draws Thousands Of Settlers

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened

On April 22, 1889, thousands of settlers raced to claim some part of the newly opened Oklahoma Territory.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 traded around 5.32. The Dow Jones Industrial Average wouldn’t open for another seven years.

What Else Was Going On In The World

The first dishwasher and Kodak rolled film had hit the market earlier in the month. Just before that, Kansas instituted the nation’s first antitrust law, and the Eiffel Tower opened in Paris.

The Biggest Land Grab

At the beginning of March, President Benjamin Harrison announced the government would open about 1.9 million acres of Indian Territory for colonial settlement.

The Oklahoma land had been the relocation spot for displaced Native Americans. Between 1817 and 1889, it had become home to various tribes, such as the Cherokee, Apache, Cheyenne, Chickasaw and Creek.

White Americans saw agricultural value in the territory and lobbied the federal government to open it for cultivation. The first section — a tract then unassigned to a particular tribe — became fair game for white settlers at noon on April 22.

More than 50,000 pioneers tented around the border in preparation of the opening. A noon cannon fire signaled settlement time, and up to 60,000 streamed into the territory throughout the day.

Over the next few years, additional parcels owned by tribes became available for settlement through the Dawes Severalty Act.

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