Arkansas History

Arkansas History


Each state has a history behind it – origins and early days, and the state of Arkansas is no exception. We shall take a journey through the various stages in the history of the state of Arkansas.

  • The Prehistoric Years: Findings from Archeology reveal that Arkansas was inhabited as early as 11500 BC. There was some level of sophistication among these people as can be seen from the pottery, tools, and deposits of garbage. Another indication that they were sophisticated is the existence of building of mounds. There is also evidence of groups of Indians who practiced agriculture.
  • The 1500’s to 1800: The earliest recorded history of Arkansas describes Hernando de Soto who led his group into Arkansas in 1840 as a result of his explorations. De Soto’s records provide us with valuable narrations regarding the early Indians in Aransas. 130 years later, Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette arrived and managed to make peace with the Quapaw Indians. In 1686, the Arkansas Post was created – a location for trade and military action for France and Spain.
  • 1800 to 1860: During this period, the United States claimed Arkansas (1804). Two notable things happened here. Firstly, the native Indian population dwindled due to sickness by disease brought by the newcomers and also due to the war which took place over possession of land between the colonists and the Indians. The other thing of significance was the introduction of African Americans to this region in the form of slaves brought by the invaders. It was in this period that cotton cultivation became well developed, although law and order was uncommon as the state was run mostly by crooks. Some exceptions of this period were the establishment of people such as Albert Pike and William E Woodruff.
  • The Civil War Years (1860 to 1875): Arkansas was among the last to secede and did so only in 1861. Though supported by most, there was some opposition too, which resulted in the delay. Arkansas took a beating in the Civil War as much as the other southern states. The battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove and the fall of Little Rock are a few of the significant battles fought during the American Civil War.
  • With the entry of Arkansas into the Union in the year 1868, the government became more or less organized. The significant developments during this period were the emancipation of African Americans and the subsequent establishment of the Klu Klux Klan. The state received a setback however, with the election of Governor Elisha Baxter when it can be stated that the state indeed took a step back into the pre-Civil War era, albeit for a short while.
  • 1875 to 1900: Initially, the rest of the country was not able to realize the true agricultural potential of Arkansas, as at the start of this period; emphasis was more on manufacturing which was not the strong point of this state. However, once the vast natural resources and agricultural assets of this state became well-known, Arkansas was able to contribute to the rest of the country, aided by the newly established rail and transport system. During this period of enlightenment however, the black middle class was suppressed by oppressive government policies.
  • 1900 to 1940: This was a very progressive period for Arkansas. Prohibition was introduced in the year 1917, mainly brought about by womens’ associations. Womens’ suffrage was also introduced in the same year. The educational system was revamped and 4 schools of agriculture were established. The downside of this period was that the black people still continued to be persecuted, driven off their land and murdered. Other undesired events were the Flood of 1927 and the Great Depression.
  • The war years to the late 1960’s: The Second World War gave rise to an increase in the employment levels and a restoration of the industrial sector which had received a setback during the depression years. However, even this could not alleviate all unemployment and so several Arkansas people, including a majority of African Americans migrated outside the state. Through opposition to desegregation of schools in 1954, Arkansas got a name for being a racist state. It was only with the election of Winthrop Rockefeller in 1967 that the state regained its progressive status through economic, cultural and political reforms.
  • 1970 till date: As earlier stated, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller introduced several reforms. He was most well known for his improvement to the prison system. This era saw rural areas such as the Arkansas Delta becoming poor, but several cities such as Rogers, Fayetteville and Jonesboro sprang up. Despite all this development, minorities and women did not receive sufficient recognition in high places in society. The state still continued to oppose being overwhelmed by Republicans.


Today Arkansas continues to be a conservative state, very opposed to change but very proud of its cultural, ethnic and political roots. To boot, Arkansas has much to be proud of. Some names from Arkansan modern history are Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods.  So now it should be clear that the state of Arkansas is a state with a rich and long history. Much can be seen in the progress of the history of this state as it grew along the years to what it is today.

Arkansas State Information

State of Arkansas
Arkansas State Official Language(s) English
Arkansas State Demonym Arkansan; Arkansawyer
Arkansas State Capital Little Rock
Arkansas State Largest City Little Rock
Arkansas State Largest Metro Area Little Rock Metropolitan Area
Arkansas State Area  Ranked 29th in the US
 - Total 53,179 sq mi
(137,002 km2)
 - Width 239 miles (385 km)
 - Length 261 miles (420 km)
 - % water 2.09
 - Latitude 33° 00′ N to 36° 30′ N
 - Longitude 89° 39′ W to 94° 37′ W
Arkansas State Population  Ranked 32nd in the US
 - Total 2,855,390 (2008 est.)
2,673,400 (2000)
- Density 51.34/sq mi  (19.82/km2)
Ranked 34th in the US
Arkansas State Elevation  
 - Highest point Mount Magazine
2,753 ft  (840 m)
 - Mean 650 ft  (198 m)
 - Lowest point Ouachita River
55 ft  (17 m)
Arkansas State Before Statehood Arkansas Territory
Arkansas State Admission to Union  June 15, 1836 (25th)
Arkansas State Governor Mike Beebe (D)
Arkansas State Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter (D)
Arkansas State Legislature General Assembly
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln (D)
Mark Pryor (D)
U.S. House delegation 3 Democrats, 1 Republican
Arkansas State Time Zone Central: UTC-6/DST-5
Arkansas State Abbreviations AR Ark. US-AR
Arkansas State Website

Arkansas State Symbols

Arkansas State Symbols
Arkansas State Animate Insignia
Arkansas State Bird(s) Mockingbird
Arkansas State Butterfly Diana Fritillary
Arkansas State Flower(s) Apple blossom
Arkansas State Insect European honey bee
Arkansas State Mammal(s) White-tailed deer
Arkansas State Tree Loblolly Pine
Arkansas State Inanimate Iinsignia
Arkansas State Beverage Milk
Arkansas State Dance Square Dance
Arkansas State Food South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato
Arkansas State Gemstone Diamond
Arkansas State Instrument Fiddle
Arkansas State Mineral Quartz
Arkansas State Rock Bauxite
Arkansas State Soil Stuttgart
Arkansas State Song(s) Arkansas (song),
Arkansas (You Run Deep In Me),
Oh, Arkansas,
The Arkansas Traveler
Arkansas State Tartan Arkansas Traveler Tartan

Arkansas Education

Centers of Research

  • National Center for Toxicological Research
  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Colleges and Universities

  • Arkansas Baptist College
  • Arkansas State University System
    • Arkansas State University - Jonesboro
    • Arkansas State University - Mountain Home
  • Arkansas Tech University
  • Central Baptist College
  • Harding University
  • Henderson State University
  • Hendrix College
  • John Brown University
  • Lyon College
  • Ouachita Baptist University
  • Ozarka College
  • Philander Smith College
  • Southern Arkansas University
  • University of Arkansas System
    • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
    • University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
    • University of Arkansas at Little Rock
    • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    • University of Arkansas at Monticello
    • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
    • University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
    • University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton
  • University of Central Arkansas
  • University of the Ozarks
  • Williams Baptist College