Arkansas (State)

State of Arkansas
Coordinates 34°48’N, 92°12’WL
General
Surface 137,732 km²
(2.1% water)
Inhabitants 3,066,369
(21.8 inhabitant/km²)
Capital city Little Rock
Politics
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)
Other
Time zone Central Standard Time (UTC−6)
Joined June 15, 1836
Nickname The Natural State
ISO 3166-2 US-AR
Website arkansas.gov

Arkansas is one of the states of the United States. The standard abbreviation for the Natural State, or The Land of Opportunity as its nicknames go, is AR. The capital is Little Rock. Arkansas is bordered by Louisiana to the south, Texas to the southwest, Oklahoma to the west, Missouri to the north, and Tennessee and Mississippi to the east.

Origin of the name

The area now called Arkansas was originally settled by Native American tribes such as the Quapaw. The state’s name presumably refers to them, via French, and would mean something like “downstream”. Arkansas is the only state whose pronunciation of the name is legally established (in 1881): “ár-ken-saw” pronounced in English . So the S at the end of Arkansas is not pronounced.

History

The region was long in the hands of the French. It was Spanish property for several decades at the end of the 18th century . France eventually sold it to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

Arkansas Territory was established in 1819, which also covered most of the later state of Oklahoma, with Arkansas Post as its first capital. In 1821 the capital became Little Rock. Arkansas formally became a state of the United States on June 15, 1836, as the 25th. The question of whether slavery would be allowed in the state was a difficult issue as the population was strongly divided on this. Ultimately, the vote of Henry Clay, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, would be decisive. During the American Civil War, the state sided with the Confederation. Due to its strategic location along the Mississippi, a number of battles were fought in the state. In 1863, 17-year-old David Owen Dodd was apprehended by Union soldiers. He was found to be carrying a book of Morse codes showing the positions of Union soldiers around Little Rock. He refused to say how he got the book and this was never made clear. He was hanged a few weeks later. He would go down in history as The Boy Martyr of Arkansas.

During Prohibition, the city of Hot Springs became a place where the authorities tolerated drinking, prostitution, gambling and horse racing and where mobsters from Chicago, among others, came to relax.

The conservative peasant state led the way in the United States in 1932, when it was the first to elect a woman to the federal Senate. Hattie Caraway had already been nominated in 1931 to finish her late husband’s term, but in 1932 and 1938 she was elected to the Democratic Party herself. In 1934, like all Southern senators, she voted against a law against lynching, but in 1943 she supported a (failed) initiative for an Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. In 1944, she lost in the primaries to J. William Fulbright, who would hold the seat for the next thirty years.

The tension over racial segregation in the US erupted in Arkansas in 1957. The southern states had to ban racial segregation in education. In the capital Little Rock, a white high school decided to admit black students. When the first nine went to school after the summer holidays, angry whites took to the streets. These students would go down in history as the Nine of Little Rock. The governor of Arkansas refused to protect the black students. That’s why President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops. Throughout the school year, these students went to school under military supervision. It would be years before racial segregation in Southern schools ended.

Geography

The state of Arkansas covers 137,732 km², of which 134,856 km² is land. It belongs to the Central time zone. It is bordered to the north by the state of Missouri, to the west by Oklahoma and Texas, to the east by Tennessee and Mississippi, and to the south by Louisiana.

The major rivers are the Mississippi, which defines the entire eastern border, and the Arkansas in it.

The northwest of the state is slightly mountainous with Magazine Mountain (839 m) highest point in the Ozark Mountains. To the west, along the border with Oklahoma, lie the Ouachita Mountains. Southern and eastern Arkansas consists of lowlands.

In Arkansas we also find the Blanchard Springs caves.

Climate

Arkansas, which is counted among the southern states, has a subtropical climate with warm summers and cold winters. Up to 25 cm of snow can fall in the highlands, while in the southeastern lowlands no more than about 5 cm falls per year. The weather in Arkansas has several extremes with tornadoes, thunderstorms, hailstorms, and snowfall. There are about 60 days of thunderstorms per year. Although it is far enough from the Gulf of Mexico, the state still has to deal with remnants of tropical depressions or hurricanes every year. As a result, large amounts of rain fall every year and several tornadoes can be formed as a result of these showers.

National Parks

Aerial view of Hot Springs National Park

There are 6 areas in Arkansas that are under the protection of the National Park Service:

  • Hot Springs National Park
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park
  • Arkansas Post National Memorial
  • Buffalo National River

Demographics

According to TRACKAAH, Arkansas had an estimated population of 3,078,204 (22 per km²), of whom about 78% were whites and over 15% African Americans. The main religion is Christianity, which is adhered to by 86% of the inhabitants.

Cities

The largest cities are in order of population (2017):

  • Little Rock (capital) (population 198,633)
  • Fort Smith (population 88,031)
  • Fayetteville (population 85,226)
  • Springdale (79,582 inhabitants)
  • Jonesboro (75,489 inhabitants)
  • North Little Rock (population 65,996)
  • Conway (population 65,734)
  • Pine Bluff (42,758 inhabitants)

Economy and Infrastructure

Arkansas’s economy is largely based on agriculture. The main agricultural products the state produces include poultry, eggs, cotton, and soybeans. However, the industrial sector has developed and is growing in importance in recent decades. Arkansas is the only state in the US where diamonds are found. Furthermore, bauxite and bromine are also mined.

In 1962, the Walmart company was founded with the first store in Rogers. It has since become one of the largest corporations and largest employers in the United States, headquartered in Bentonville.

The state’s gross product was $128 billion in 2018. The largest airport is Little Rock National Airport.

Administrative division

According to COUNTRYAAH, Arkansas is divided into 75 counties.

County Inhabitants
1 July, 2007
County Seat Inhabitants
1 July, 2007
Arkansas 19.392 De Witt 3281
Ashley 22.326 Hamburg 2731
Baxter 41.950 Mountain Home 12.457
Benton 203.107 Bentonville 33.744
Boone 36.672 Harrison 13.108
Bradley 11.979 Warren 6155
Calhoun 5535 Hampton 1498
Carroll 27.429 Berryville 5193
Chicot 12.305 Lake Village 2455
Clark 23.585 Arkadelphia 10.833
Clay 16.134 Piggott
Corning
3554
3365
Cleburne 25.407 Heber Springs 7180
Cleveland 8769 Rison 1303
Columbia 24.351 Magnolia 11.154
Conway 20.740 Morrilton 6580
Craighead 91.552 Jonesboro 63.190
Crawford 59.031 Van Buren 22.001
Crittenden 52.103 Marion 11.058
Cross 18.685 Wynne 8364
Dallas 8249 Fordyce 4287
Desha 13.799 Arkansas City 531
Drew 18.745 Monticello 9355
Faulkner 104.865 Conway 57.006
Franklin 18.157 Ozark 3557
Fulton 11.752 Salem 1553
Garland 96.371 Hot Springs 39.064
Grant 17.460 Sheridan 4602
Greene 40.397 Paragould 24.505
Hempstead 23.226 Hope 10.478
Hot Spring 31.850 Malvern 8957
Howard 13.997 Nashville 4763
Independence 34.566 Batesville 9504
Izard 12.978 Melbourne 1684
Jackson 17.219 Newport 7524
Jefferson 78.986 Pine Bluff 50.667
Johnson 24.747 Clarksville 8517
Lafayette 7760 Lewisville 1159
Lawrence 16.860 Walnut Ridge 4671
Lee 10.859 Marianna 4425
Lincoln 13.729 Star City 2241
Little River 12.812 Ashdown 4446
Logan 22.599 Booneville
Paris
4075
3622
Lonoke 63.562 Lonoke 4508
Madison 15.420 Huntsville 2367
Marion 16.629 Yellville 1356
Miller 42.662 Texarkana 29.624
Mississippi 46.664 Blytheville
Osceola
16.076
7874
Monroe 8712 Clarendon 1708
Montgomery 9048 Mount Ida 944
Nevada 9376 Prescott 4459
Newton 8339 Jasper 485
Ouchita 26.068 Camden 11.657
Perry 10.391 Perryville 1451
Phillips 22.035 Helena 12.426
Pike 10.791 Murfreesboro 1668
Poinsett 24.850 Harrisburg 2117
Polk 20.197 Mena 5588
Pope 58.961 Russellville 26.700
Prairie 8739 Des Arc 1742
Pulaski 373.911 Little Rock 187.452
Randolph 18.089 Pocahontas 6703
Saline 96.212 Benton 28.352
Scott 11.304 Waldron 3589
Searcy 8087 Marshall 1267
Sebastian 121.766 Fort Smith 84.375
Sevier 16.325 De Queen 5883
Sharp 17.848 Ash Flat 1031
St. Francis 26.900 Forrest City 13.540
Stone 11.971 Mountain View 3063
Union 43.230 El Dorado 19.891
Van Buren 16.507 Clinton 2376
Washington 194.292 Fayetteville 72.208
White 73.441 Searcy 21.749
Woodruff 7649 Augusta 2316
Yell 21.786 Danville 2463

Politics

Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock

Old State House

State level

The executive branch of the state is headed by a governor, who is directly elected by the voters in the state. In 2014, Asa Hutchinson of the Republican Party was elected governor of the state of Arkansas. He took over from his Democratic predecessor Mike Beebe on January 13, 2015 , who held the governorship for eight years.

Former President of the United States Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas in the 1980s.

The legislature consists of the Arkansas House of Representatives (Arkansas House of Representatives) with 100 members and the Arkansas Senate (Arkansas Senate) with 35 members. Both houses held decades of Democratic majority from 1874 until the 2012 election, when Republicans gained a majority. Since then, they have further provided their majority.

Federal level

In the 2004 US presidential election, the state voted for George W. Bush and again in 2008 the majority voted for Republican candidate John McCain.

Arkansas’s representation in the United States Congress consists of two senators and four representatives. Where these used to be invariably Democrats, these are now all Republicans.

Flag of Arkansas