Facts about Arkansas
Some of the earliest Indians in Arkansas were
the Bluff Dwellers and Mound Builders.
Among the earliest inhabitants of Arkansas were the
Folsom people who lived here when the last of the great
glacier ice sheets was melting off the northern part of
what is now the United States.
Arkansas Post, established by the French under Henri De
Tonti in 1686, was the first permanent white settlement
in Arkansas. Arkansas was ruled first by France, then by
Spain, and again by France before the territory was
purchased by the United States in 1803.
A French explorer named La Harpe discovered the sites of
Little Rock and North Little Rock in 1722.
Arkansas, under American control, was first a part of the
Louisiana Territory and then of the Missouri Territory
before it became a separate territory in 1819.
The first Arkansas newspaper was the "Arkansas
Gazette", founded by William E. Woodruff at Arkansas
Post in 1819.
The capital of the Arkansas Territory was at Arkansas
Post until 1821, when it was moved to the new town of
The original Bowie knife was made by James Black, a
blacksmith of Washington, Arkansas, for Colonel James
Bowie about 1830.
The first state Capitol (now known as the Old State House)
in Little Rock was begun by Governor John Pope in 1833.
Nine out of ten early Arkansans were farmers, growing
mostly cotton and corn.
Horse racing and bear hunting were popular sports in
Davy Crockett passed through Arkansas on his way to Texas
in the fall of 1835 and spoke at a dinner given in his
honor in Little Rock.
The Texas Revolution of 1836 was planned by Sam Houston
and his friends at the Old Tavern in Washington, Arkansas.
Arkansas was admitted to the Union as the 25th state on
June 15, 1836.
James S. Conway was the first governor of the state of
Archibald Yell was the first Arkansas representative in
the U.S. House of Representatives.
The "Trail of Tears" was the route across
northern Arkansas taken by the Eastern Cherokees on their
way to Indian Territory in 1838-1839.
An immense logjam called the "Great Raft"
impeded navigation on the Red River until 1838.
In 1861, Arkansas joined an attempt by 11 southern states
to form an independent republic called the Confederate
States of America.
During the last year of the Civil War Arkansas had a
Union state government in Little Rock and a Confederate
state government at Washington in Hempstead County.
Arkansas supplied an estimated 50,000 men to the
Confederate Army and about 15,000 to the Union Army.
The Brooks-Baxter War of 1874, a contest between two
Republicans over the governorship, marked the end of
Reconstruction in Arkansas.
The Constitution of 1874, which still governs the state,
is the fifth of our state constitutions. Earlier ones
were drawn up in 1836, 1861, 1864, and 1868.
Bauxite, the ore used to make aluminum, was discovered in
Arkansas in 1887 by State Geologist John C. Branner.
Mining began in 1899 and Arkansas soon led all other
states in production.
Arkansas supplies 96 percent of the nation's domestic
bauxite and has the only diamond mine in the United
The General Assembly of 1915 enacted a statewide game and
fish law and created the Game and Fish Commission.
The first radio station, WOK in Pine Bluff, began
broadcasting in 1921. Television station KATV in Little
Rock went on the air in 1953.
Orval E. Faubus was the first Arkansas governor to be
elected to six terms (1955-67).
In 1967, Winthrop Rockefeller became the first Republican
governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction.
The main rivers of the state are the Mississippi, St.
Francis, White, Arkansas, Red, Ouachita, and their
tributaries, all of which drain to the south and
Mt. Sequoyah was previously called East Mountain but was
changed to Sequoyah in keeping with the policy of naming
the assembly places for Indian leaders. Sequoyah was the
Cherokee educator credited with inventing the alphabet
for the Cherokee and white man to communicate.