The land that makes up our state today was first settled thousands of years ago by people called the “Bluff Dwellers” because they lived in caves or under bluffs in the Ozark Mountains. Other natives moved in over time that consisted of Native American tribes such as the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw. Europeans arrived thereafter and explored the land, one being a Frenchman, Henri de Tonty, who built the Arkansas Post in 1686. De Tonty would become known as the “Father of Arkansas.” The Arkansas Post became a base for fur trappers that led more Europeans to move to the state. After the Louisana Purchase in 1803, Arkansas became a separate territory from Mississippi and a new capital was established at Little Rock in 1821. For more Arkansas and Little Rock history, visit these great websites:
- Little Rock Official Website
- Arkansas Official Website
- The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
Here are a few interesting facts about the state that may get you more curious about what we have to offer:
- Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, Ouachita National Forest reigns as the oldest national forest in the South. The Ouachita Mountains are unusual in that their ridges run east to west as opposed to north to south.
- Arkansas is home to a wide array of natural resources including petroleum, natural gas, bromine and silica stone. Throughout the 20th century, the state was responsible for providing roughly 90 percent of all domestic Bauxite, from which aluminum is made.
- Although it was not officially designated a national park until 1921, the territory now known as Hot Springs National Park was originally set aside by Congress as a U.S. government reservation in 1832—40 years before Yellowstone National Park was established as the “first” national park. With an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit, the hot springs have been used for centuries as therapeutic baths.
- Following the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which outlawed segregation in public education, Little Rock’s Central High School became a battleground in the fight for civil rights when the Arkansas National Guard denied nine African-American students entry in 1957. Weeks later, on September 25th, the students attended their first full day of school under federal troop escort ordered by President Dwight Eisenhower.
- Sam Walton founded his Wal-Mart stores in Bentonville.
- Mountain View is home to one of the largest producers of handmade dulcimers in the world.
- The first woman elected to the U.S. Senate was Hattie Ophelia Caraway, née Wyatt, a Democrat from Arkansas.
- Arkansas is the nation’s leading producer of rice and poultry and grows nearly every crop produced in the United States with the exception of citrus fruits.
- Little Rock is the home to the American Taekwondo Association National Headquarters.