The Territory of Arkansas became the 25th state of the Union on June 15, 1836. “Arkansas” is a French interpretation of the Native American Sioux tribe’s word “acansa,” which means downstream place.
The Early Years
Thousands of years ago, the land was populated by the Bluff Dwellers, who lived in caves in the Ozark Mountains. As the centuries passed, other native tribes began to make the land their home, including the Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Osage, and Quapaw.
The first European didn’t arrive until 1541 when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto visited. It was another 100 years before the first European community started. Frenchman Henri de Tonty built the Arkansas Post settlement in 1686 and later became known as the “Father of Arkansas.”
In 1803, the United States bought land from France. The sale was called the Louisiana Purchase, and it cost $15 million. This purchase included the land of Arkansas. In 1819 the Arkansas land became a separate territory, and in 1836 it became the 25th state.
Arkansas was a slave state, meaning some of the settlers owned slaves. When the Civil War began in 1861, Arkansas became the ninth state to secede from the Union and join the Confederate States of America. Several battles were fought here during that time, including the Battle of Helena, the Battle of Pea Ridge, and the Red River Campaign.
- Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas.
- Nicknames: The Natural State and The Land of Opportunity.
- State motto: Regnat populous, or “The people rule.”
- From 1874 to 1967, every Arkansas governor was a member of the Democratic Party.
- The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest is held every year in Stuttgart.