Arkansas is a state in the United States located south of the country and bordering Oklahoma and Texas in the west, Missouri in the north, Tennessee and Mississippi in the east, and Louisiana in the south. It is abbreviated Sheets. or AR, and is also referred to as The Natural State.0
Arkansas has a total area of approx. 137,730 km2 and has 3,004,279 residents (US Census, 2017). Arkansas was listed as the 25th state in the United States on June 15, 1836. The capital and largest city is Little Rock.
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Arkansas consists of two main geographical areas. The northwest is a highland, shared by the Mississippi River’s navigable tributary Arkansas in the Ozark Plateau in the north and the Ouachita Mountains in the south. The mountains reach 700–800 meters altitude. To the south and east of the highlands is a fertile plain that is often subject to flooding from the Mississippi. In the plains, the climate is humid and subtropical, and is influenced by warm air masses over the Gulf of Mexico.
Of the population, 79.3 percent are considered white and 15.7 percent black / African American – compared to 25 percent in 1860. 7.6 percent are of Hispanic origin (US Census, 2017). The African American population is in the majority along the Mississippi, while the Ozark Plateau has an almost white population. A little over 56 percent of the population lives in cities or urban areas. The largest cities are the capital Little Rock with 198,606 residents, Fort Smith with 88,037 residents and the university city of Fayetteville 85,257 residents (US Census, 2017).
Arkansas elects two senators and four representatives to the Washington DC federal congress.
Although Arkansas’s business community is no longer dominated by agriculture, agriculture still plays a major role. The state is the largest rice producer as well as chicken and turkey producer in the United States. The state is also the US’s third largest cotton producer.
About half of the area is covered by forests (oak, hickory, cypress), which provides the basis for an extensive forestry and wood processing industry. The rest of the industry has shown a strong rise in recent decades and is particularly linked to the processing of agricultural products and the state’s own mineral production. 95 percent of the United States bauxite is extracted in Arkansas, which is also the largest producer of bromine and vanadium. Arkansas also has a large industry related to oil and natural gas. The world’s largest retailer – Walmart – is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. The state has a large tourist traffic to the many health resorts with hot springs.
Arkansas was populated by indigenous peoples, including quapaws and tribes within the caddo and osage, who fought against the first Europeans to explore the area. Among the first were the Spanish Hernando de Soto in 1541, and the French Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673. In 1681 Robert La Salle and Henri de Tonti made an extensive voyage in the area, and de Tonti created the Arkansas Post East in present-day Arkansas as the first the colony in 1686. In 1762, France renounced the area to Spain, but regained it in 1800.
Arkansas was part of the Louisiana colony, which France (Napoleon) sold to the United States in 1803 (the Louisiana Purchase). The area was separated as its own territory on July 4, 1819. In the years to come, slavery was a key issue in the territory’s politics and future, where people in the western areas – where there was extensive cotton cultivation – were enslaved, while the population of the more hilly the areas in the west, where other agriculture dominated, were adversaries. When the Washington administration in 1836 finally accepted Arkansas as the United States’ 25th state in the Union in 1836, it became the Union’s 13th slave state – states where slavery was legal with certain restrictions.
Arkansas left the union again in 1861 and joined the Southern Confederation, where the state with its control of the Mississippi River was an important partner. After the American Civil War, Arkansas was re-established as a state in the union in 1868. Until 1957, the state maintained a strict racial divide, including in the school sector, and it was not until 1959 that all schools were open to all.