53,179 sq mi
| Little Rock|
| 8.50 USD per hour (Jan 1, 2017)|
University of Arkansas
Eureka Springs, Hot Springs, Mountain View, Little Rock, Bentonville
Clinton Presidential Center, Hot Springs National Park, Garvan Woodland Gardens, Little Rock Central High School, Crater of Diamonds State Park
Arkansas ( AR-k?n-saw) is a state located in the Southern region of the United States. Its name is of Siouan derivation, denoting the Quapaw Indians. The states diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta. Known as "the Natural State", the diverse regions of Arkansas offer residents and tourists a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Arkansas is the 29th largest in square miles and the 32nd most populous of the 50 United States. The capital and most populous city is Little Rock, located in the central portion of the state, a hub for transportation, business, culture, and government. The northwestern corner of the state, including the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area and Fort Smith metropolitan area, is also an important population, education, and economic center. The largest city in the eastern part of the state is Jonesboro.
The Territory of Arkansas was admitted to the Union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836. Arkansas withdrew from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Upon returning to the Union, the state would continue to suffer due to its earlier reliance on slavery and the plantation economy, causing the state to fall behind economically and socially. White rural interests continued to dominate the states politics until the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century. Arkansas began to diversify its economy following World War II and now relies on its service industry as well as aircraft, poultry, steel and tourism in addition to cotton and rice.
The culture of Arkansas is observable in museums, theaters, novels, television shows, restaurants and athletic venues across the state. Despite a plethora of cultural, economic, and recreational opportunities, Arkansas is often stereotyped as a "poor, banjo-picking hillbilly" state, a reputation dating back to early accounts of the territory by frontiersmen in the early 1800s. Arkansass enduring image has earned the state "a special place in the American consciousness", but it has in reality produced such prominent figures as politician and educational advocate William Fulbright, former President Bill Clinton, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark, Walmart magnate Sam Walton and singer-songwriter Johnny Cash.
Arkansas borders Louisiana to the south, Texas to the southwest, Oklahoma to the west, Missouri to the north, as well as Tennessee and Mississippi on the east. The United States Census Bureau classifies Arkansas as a southern state, sub-categorized among the West South Central States. The Mississippi River forms most of Arkansass eastern border, except in Clay and Greene, counties where the St. Francis River forms the western boundary of the Missouri Bootheel, and in many places where the current channel of the Mississippi has meandered from the location of its original legal designation. The state line along the Mississippi River is indeterminate along much of the eastern border with Mississippi due to these meanders.
Prior to European settlement of North America, Arkansas was inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw peoples encountered European explorers. These included Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541, the French Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673, and Frenchmen Robert La Salle and Henri de Tonti in 1681. De Tonti established Arkansas Post at a Quapaw village in 1686, making it the first European settlement in the territory. The early Spanish or French explorers of the state gave it its name, which is probably a phonetic spelling of the Illinois tribes name for the Quapaw people, who lived downriver from them.
Settlers, including fur trappers, moved to Arkansas in the early 18th century. These people used Arkansas Post as a home base and entrepôt. During the colonial period, Arkansas changed hands between France and Spain following the Seven Years War, although neither showed interest in the remote settlement of Arkansas Post. In April 1783, Arkansas saw its only battle of the American Revolutionary War, a brief siege of the post by British Captain James Colbert with the assistance of the Choctaw and Chickasaw.
Napoleon Bonaparte sold French Louisiana to the United States in 1803, including all of Arkansas, in a transaction known today as the Louisiana Purchase. French soldiers remained as a garrison at Arkansas Post. Following the purchase, the balanced give-and-take relationship between settlers and Native Americans began to change all along the frontier, including in Arkansas. Following a controversy over allowing slavery in the territory, the Territory of Arkansas was organized on July 4, 1819. Gradual emancipation in Arkansas was struck down by one vote, the Speaker of the House Henry Clay, allowing Arkansas to organize as a slave territory.
Slavery became a wedge issue in Arkansas, forming a geographic divide that remained for decades. The owners and operators of the cotton plantation economy in southeast Arkansas firmly supported slavery, as slave labor was perceived by them to be the best or "only" economically viable method of harvesting their cotton commodity crops. The "hill country" of northwest Arkansas was unable to grow cotton and relied on a cash-scarce, subsistence farming economy.
As European Americans settled throughout the East Coast and into the Midwest, in the 1830s the United States government forced the removal of many Native American tribes to Arkansas and Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.
Additional Native American removals began in earnest during the territorial period, with final Quapaw removal complete by 1833 as they were pushed into Indian Territory. The capital was relocated from Arkansas Post to Little Rock in 1821, during the territorial period.
Once a state with a cashless society in the uplands and plantation agriculture in the lowlands, Arkansass economy has evolved and diversified to meet the needs of todays consumer. The states gross domestic product (GDP) was $105 billion in 2010. Six Fortune 500 companies are based in Arkansas, including the worlds #1 retailer, Walmart. The per capita personal income in 2010 was $36,027, ranking forty-fifth in the nation. The three-year median household income from 2009-11 was $39,806, ranking forty-ninth in the nation. The states agriculture outputs are poultry and eggs, soybeans, sorghum, cattle, cotton, rice, hogs, and milk. Its industrial outputs are food processing, electric equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery, and paper products. Mines in Arkansas produce natural gas, oil, crushed stone, bromine, and vanadium. According to CNBC, Arkansas currently ranks as the 20th best state for business, with the 2nd-lowest cost of doing business, 5th-lowest cost of living, 11th best workforce, 20th-best economic climate, 28th-best educated workforce, 31st-best infrastructure and the 32nd-friendliest regulatory environment. Arkansas gained twelve spots in the best state for business rankings since 2011. As of 2014, Arkansas was found to be the most affordable US state to live in.
The culture of Arkansas is available to all in various forms, whether it be architecture, literature, or fine and performing arts. The states culture also includes distinct cuisine, dialect, and traditional festivals. Sports are also very important to the culture of Arkansas, ranging from football, baseball, and basketball to hunting and fishing. Perhaps the best-known piece of Arkansass culture is the stereotype of its citizens as shiftless hillbillies. The reputation began when the state was characterized by early explorers as a savage wilderness full of outlaws and thieves. The most enduring icon of Arkansass hillbilly reputation is The Arkansas Traveller, a painted depiction of a folk tale from the 1840s. Although intended to represent the divide between rich southeastern plantation Arkansas planters and the poor northwestern hill country, the meaning was twisted to represent a Northerner lost in the Ozarks on a white horse asking a backwoods Arkansan for directions. The state also suffers from the racial stigma common to former Confederate states, with historical events such as the Little Rock Nine adding to Arkansass enduring image.
Art and history museums display pieces of cultural value for Arkansans and tourists to enjoy. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is the most popular with 604,000 visitors in 2012, its first year. The museum includes walking trails and educational opportunities in addition to displaying over 450 works covering five centuries of American art. Several historic town sites have been restored as Arkansas state parks, including Historic Washington State Park, Powhatan Historic State Park, and Davidsonville Historic State Park.
Arkansas features a variety of native music across the state, ranging from the blues heritage of West Memphis and Helena-West Helena to rockabilly, bluegrass, and folk music from the Ozarks. Festivals such as the King Biscuit Blues Festival and Bikes, Blues, and BBQ pay homage to the history of blues in the state. The Ozark Folk Festival in Mountain View is a celebration of Ozark culture and often features folk and bluegrass musicians. Literature set in Arkansas such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and A Painted House by John Grisham describe the culture at various time periods.
Arkansas is home to many areas protected by the National Park System. These include:Arkansas Post National Memorial at Gillett
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Buffalo National River
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Hot Springs National Park
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Pea Ridge National Military Park
President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
Arkansas State Capitol Building
List of Arkansas state parks