Parents and Teachers: Support Ducksters by following us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter.
Ducksters Educational SiteDucksters Educational Site
History Biography Geography Science Games

History >> US Geography >> US State History

Arkansas

State History

The land that is today the state of Arkansas was first settled thousands of years ago by people called the Bluff Dwellers. These people lived in caves in the Ozark Mountains. Other natives moved in over time and became various Native American tribes such as the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw.


Skyline of Arkansas, Little Rock
Little Rock skyline by Bruce W. Stracener

Europeans Arrive

The first European to arrive in Arkansas was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. De Soto made contact with the local peoples and visited the area that is today called Hot Springs, Arkansas. It wasn't until over 100 years later that the first European settlement was established when Frenchman Henri de Tonty built the Arkansas Post in 1686. De Tonty would later become known as the "Father of Arkansas."

Early Settlers

The Arkansas Post became a central base for fur trappers in the region. Eventually more Europeans moved to Arkansas. Many farmed the land while others continued to trap and trade furs. The land changed hands between France and Spain, but this did not affect the settlers much.

The Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson and the United States purchased a large region of land from France called the Louisiana Purchase. For $15,000,000 the U.S. acquired all the land west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The land of Arkansas was included in this purchase.

Becoming a State

Initially Arkansas was part of the Mississippi Territory with the Arkansas Post as the capital. In 1819, it became a separate territory and a new capital was established at Little Rock in 1821. The territory continued to grow and on June 15, 1836 it was admitted into the Union as the 25th state.


The Buffalo River in the Ozark Mountains
Buffalo National River from the National Park Service

Civil War

When Arkansas became a state it was admitted as a slave state. Slave states were states where slavery was legal. When the Civil War began in 1861, around 25% of the people living in Arkansas were slaves. The people in Arkansas did not want to go to war at first and initially voted to stay in the Union. However, in May of 1861 they changed their minds, and seceded from the Union. Arkansas became a member of the Confederate States of America. Several battles were fought in Arkansas during the Civil War including the Battle of Pea Ridge, the Battle of Helena, and the Red River Campaign.

Reconstruction

The Civil War ended with the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865. Arkansas was admitted back into the Union in 1868, but much of the state had been damaged by the war. Reconstruction took years and carpetbaggers from the north came in and took advantage of poor southerners. It wasn't until the late 1800s that growth in the timber and mining industries helped Arkansas recover economically.

Civil Rights

In the 1950s Arkansas became a center of the Civil Rights Movement. A major civil rights event took place in Arkansas in 1957 when nine African-American students decided to attend an all-white high school. They were called the Little Rock Nine. At first, the Arkansas governor tried to prevent the students from attending the school, but President Eisenhower sent U.S. Army troops to protect the students and to make sure they could go to school.


Protesters against the Little Rock Nine
Little Rock Integration Protest by John T. Bledsoe

Timeline More US State History:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





About Ducksters Privacy Policy   

Follow us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter

This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.