The Cherokee Strip was an eight-million-acre parcel of land in the northwest quadrant of Oklahoma. When members of the Cherokee tribe were moved by the federal government from the southeastern United States to Indian Territory (eastern Oklahoma) in the late 1830s, they were given an outlet to the western hunting grounds that become known as the Cherokee Strip. By 1867 cattle herds from Texas were heading north into Oklahoma and the Cherokee Strip, where they followed the tracks made by trader Jesse Chisholm over the previous three years.
This route became known as the Chisholm Trail. In the early 1880s numerous large cattle ranches were established in the area. By 1883 the Cherokee Strip Livestock Association was formed, and the entire unoccupied part of the outlet was leased from the Cherokees. During this 20 or so years, the term "cowboy" came into existence, and the mystique of the of the American West began.
On September 16, 1893, by presidential order, the Cherokee Strip was opened for settlement in a great land run. More than 100,000 people entered the race, which was billed by the New York Times as the greatest real estate deal of the century. It was one of the largest and most spectacular competitive events in history.