Arkansas State Geography

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So you want to know about Arkansas? Here are some highlights! Also check out the links to other sites about Arkansas.

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Key Facts

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Arkansas State Facts

Population (1994): 2,453,000 (33rd in size)

State size: 53,187 square miles (27th in size)

State Capital: Little Rock (named from the rock formations on the bank of the Arkansas River).

Major cities: Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Fort Smith and Hot Springs.

Admission to union: The 25th State

Date entered the union: June 15, 1836.

Origin of state name: Named from the Sioux people called the "Quapaw," who were called the Akansea by other tribes. The French varied the spelling leading to Arkansa. The name means "south wind."

Nicknames: The Land of Opportunity and the Natural State. Prior to 1953, it was called "The Wonder State" and "The Bear State"

Bordering states: Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

State bird: Mockingbird

State flower: Apple Blossom

State tree: Short Leaf Pine

Motto: The People Rule


Geographic Landmarks

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Much of Arkansas is still in its natural state, including considerable wilderness area. Arkansas has 600,000 acres of lakes, 9,700 miles of rivers and streams, and 2.4 million acres of forest.

The Ozark Mountains cover northwestern Arkansas. In west-central Arkansas, separated from the Ozarks by the Arkansas River, are the Ouachita Mountains. Southern Arkansas consists of rolling hills and timberlands.

The Mississippi River winds its way along the eastern border of Arkansas. Much of eastern Arkansas is in the Mississippi Delta. It's rich soil provides good farm land for growing rice, cotton, soybeans and wheat.



Points of Interest

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Ozarks natural and wilderness areas attract many tourist who enjoy outdoor recreation. In Hot Springs National Park, tourists come to bathe in the thermal hot springs for health benefits. Eureka Springs has 63 hot springs. Hot Springs Mountain in Ouachitas has 47 hot springs.

The Blanchard Springs Cavern attracts many tourists for its two underground trails.



Major Industries

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Arkansas is a major agricultural producer of rice, soybeans and cotton. Major manufactured items include steel, plastics, furniture, prepared foods, chemicals, boats, electric motors, machine tools and pulp and paper products. Other industries include diamond mining and oil production.



Historical Highlights

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Arkansas was the early hunting ground for the Paleo Indians who lived in caves and rock shelters along the Ozark streams. Later the Quapaw and the Osage tribes inhabited the area. In the late 1700s, the Cherokee, Choctaw, Shawnee and Delaware tribes came to Arkansas.

The first Europeans in Arkansas were the Spanish. A Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto explored the area in 1541 and 1542. The French explorers Marquette and Joliet came to Arkansas in 1673. In 1682, the French explorer La Salle claimed the land for the King of France. The first French settlement was started by Henry de Tonti in 1686, at the present day city DeWitt. Spanish gained control of the Louisiana Territory, including Arkansas, in 1762. A treaty between Spain and France in 1800 returned the land to the French.

The first African Americans came to Arkansas in 1721. They were brought to America as slaves.

In 1803, France sold the Louisiana Territory, which included Arkansas, to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Territory, then the Missouri Territory, until 1819 when it became the Territory of Arkansas. Arkansas Post was the first capital city. The capital city was moved to Little Rock in 1821.

During the Civil War, Arkansas seceded from the Union in 1861 to join the Confederacy. From 1863 to 1865, the city of Washington, Arkansas, was the location of the Confederate state government. About 60,000 Arkansas men fought in the Confederate army. Although Arkansas was a Confederate state during the Civil War, about 15,000 Arkansas men fought in the Union army.

Little Rock Central High School became the focal point for the nation's racial problems in the 1950s. The events at Little Rock Central High School led to the end of racial segregation in American public schools.



Population and Culture

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Arkansas has a strong African-American history. The African-American culture has had a significant influence on Arkansas.  



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Arkansas has a mild climate with an average annual temperature of 61.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  


Interesting Tidbits

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Scott Joplin, known as the "Father of Ragtime Music" lived in Texarkana.

Arkansas has the only Bauxite mine in the United States.



Links to other sites about California

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Links to Arkansas Sites

Arkansas State Flag


Arkansas State Government home page

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