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Interesting Facts About Arkansas

Interesting Facts About Arkansas

Arkansas joined the Union in 1836 and was the 25th state to do so. It received its name from a French word arkansa, which meant 'downriver' people. Read on to know more about this state.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Arkansas is bordered by Missouri on the northern side, Louisiana on the southern side, the plains of Oklahoma and Texas on the western side, and the Mississippi River on the eastern side, which separates it from Mississippi and Tennessee. It ranks 27th among the states in size, with an area of 53,187 square miles. Arkansas's nickname, The Land of Opportunity, reflects its diversity and fairly well-balanced economy.
Before the European settlers arrived, Native Americans lived in Arkansas. It was inhabited by Indian tribes including the Arkansa, Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Osage. In 1541, a Spanish expedition under Hernando de Soto explored this state. In 1686, Henri de Tonti established a trading station at Arkansas Post, the first permanent white settlement in the area. In 1803, the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase from France, which also included Arkansas. In 1819, Arkansas Territory was formed, that included Arkansas and a part of Oklahoma.

The next decades were known for the development of the cotton industry and spread of the Southern plantation system in Arkansas. On June 15, 1836, Arkansas entered the Union as 25th state, with Little Rock as its capital. In 1861, due to slavery, anti-secessionist sentiment developed in this state, which led to the American civil war. Arkansas was adjourned from the United States and joined the Confederacy. When the war got over in 1865, Arkansas accepted the laws against slavery and by 1868, it rejoined the United States. From 1868 to 1874, the reconstruction period in Arkansas started; many roads, railways, and schools were built and the University of Arkansas was also established. People in this state discriminated against Africans and wanted public schools to be segregated. As a result, in 1957, President Eisenhower had to send US troops into Little Rock to help the African Americans in attending schools and colleges. By 1970, the Arkansas river development program was completed and many cattle and poultry industries were also promoted.
Geography and Natural Resources
Arkansas is divided between lowlands and highlands; it has the Gulf Coastal Plain on the south, the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain on the east, and the Interior Highlands on the west and north. The hill section comprises Ozark plateaus in the north and Ouachita province in the south, between which flows the Arkansas river. The river valley is known for its highest and extraordinary peaks, like Nebo, Petit Jean, and Magazine. Petit Jean is cleft by a ravine with a 75-foot waterfall, and Mount Magazine is 2,753 feet above the sea level and has the highest elevation in the state. Mississippi, Arkansas, White, St. Francis, Red, and Ouachita are some of the main rivers in this state that drain to the south and south-east. Its plateau section is quite popular for springs, especially Mammoth Spring in Fulton County near the Missouri line, having a flow of nine million gallons per hour. This state possesses a wide variety of minerals, such as petroleum, natural gas, and bromine. It also leads the nation in the production of bauxite, bromine, and silica stone. It has 17.2 million acres of forest land, with Ozark, St. Francis, and Ouachita being the three national parks.
Climate and Population
Arkansas has a humid subtropical climate, without extreme heat or cold. In summers, the temperature averages around 90°F (32°C) and 50°F (10°C) in winter. The annual rainfall and snowfall in Arkansas varies from 45-55 inches and 2.8-10.4 inches respectively. With respect to population, it ranks 33rd among all the states. Its population density is 20 people per sq km, with a per capita income of USD 24,284.
Symbols and Cities
Like any other state, Arkansas has state related symbols like:

  • State Flag: In 1913, the design of the state flag was chosen in a contest and finalized in 1926. The flag has diamond shapes in the center, as Arkansas is the only state in USA where diamonds have been found. It was the 25th state to join the Union, hence there are 25 white stars around the diamond. The three blue stars in the lower part of the center represent the countries that have ruled this state, viz., Spain, France, and the United States. In the upper center of the diamond, there is a blue star that represents the Confederacy, of which it was a member.
  • State Flower: Apple Blossom is Arkansas's state flower. It is a five-petaled, white colored flower with a pink tinge that gradually fades.
  • State Bird: Mockingbird is the state bird. This bird is known for mimicking the sounds and songs of insects, amphibians, and other birds.
  • State Dance: Square dance is the state folk dance of Arkansas, which is performed by four couples arranged in a square.
  • State Capital: Little Rock is the state capital, and also the largest city in Arkansas.
  • State Mammal: White-tailed Deer is the state mammal of Arkansas. It is a long-legged, fast-moving mammal found mainly in northern and central America and northern parts of Southern America.
Likewise, its state gem is diamond, state tree is loblolly pine, and state song is Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me) by Wayland Holyfield. Some of the important cities in Arkansas are Benton, Cabot, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Little Rocks, and Van Buren.
Trivia and Fun Facts
  • Arkansas is also known as the Hot Water state, since it has 47 hot springs that flow from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain at an average temperature of 143°F.
  • This state is a part of the Bible Belt, and is predominantly Protestant.
  • It consists of over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers.
  • Wal-Mart stores, launched by Sam Walton, have its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • While in this state, it is illegal to mispronounce its name. It should be pronounced 'Arkansaw'.
  • Murfreesboro in Arkansas is the only diamond mine open to the public from around the world.
  • In Arkansas, voters are given only five minutes to mark their ballots.
  • In this state, a man can legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month.
Arkansas is also known as the Natural State, having diverse mineral resources, like diamonds, amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, and quartz. It is well-known for some of the famous Arkansans, like the former US President Bill Clinton, Senator James Fulbright, actor Billy Bob Thornton, singer Johnny Cash, and legendary college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.