This article is about the fictional place, for other meanings see Oz (disambiguation).
Oz is an imaginary country first introduced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum. Baum wrote fourteen children's books about Oz and its odd inhabitants. After his death Ruth Plumly Thompson continued the series.
Oz is a squarish shaped place, surrounded on all sides by a Deadly Desert and divided into four quadrants: the Gillikin country in the north, the Munchkin country in the east, the Quadling country in the south and the Winkie country in the west. The Emerald City sits at the center of Oz. Princess Ozma rules the country as a benevolent dictator.
Recurring characters in the series include:
- Dorothy Gale, a girl from Kansas
- The Tin Woodman(Nick Chopper), an enchanted mechanical man and Emperor of the Winkies
- The Scarecrow, a living man made of straw and King of the Emerald City
- The Wizard, the former ruler of Oz, originally Oscar Diggs from Ohio and now a skilled wizard
- The Cowardly Lion, the King of Beasts
- Jack Pumpkinhead, a man made out of twigs
- Tik Tok, a super-intelligent robot
- The Patchwork Girl, a living doll
- The Shaggy Man, another human from "the real world"
- The Nome King, the sinister ruler of an underground empire
- Glinda, a "good witch" and the benevolent ruler of the Gillikins
A legend of uncertain validity is that when relating bedtime stories (the origin of the Oz novels) Baum was asked by one of his listeners the name of the magical land. He glanced at a nearby filing cabinet which was marked O-Z. Thus he named the land Oz. Another story is that Oz is a corruption of Uz, the homeland of Job in the Old Testament.
These fourteen books by the original author, another nineteen books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, and another seven books by various authors comprise the "Famous Forty", which is considered the classic original series (though inconsistencies make it difficult to call it canonical). Other books were less well known or failed to remain in print. As the earlier works have fallen out of copyright (including all of L. Frank Baum's titles), numerous other books have been written in the series by many authors and publishers, some of whom continue to publish new works today.