Arkansas is known for the beauty of its mountains, lakes, streams, and wildlife

November 28, 2012 8:37 am

Arkansas
Arkansas is known for the beauty of its mountains, lakes, streams, and wildlife. In 1995, Arkansas chose the nickname the Natural State to call attention to the beauty of its nature. Before 1995, Arkansas was nicknamed the Land of Opportunity because of its resources. The state has mineral deposits, vast forests, and soil good for farming and raising livestock.
Facts About Arkansas
Capital
Little Rock
Population
2,830,000 people
Rank among states in population
32nd
Major cities
Little Rock, Fort Smith, Fayetteville
Area
53,200 square miles
138,000 square kilometers
Rank among states in area
28th
Statehood
June 15, 1836, the 25th state
State nickname
The Natural State
Name for residents
Arkansans
State bird
Mockingbird
State flower
Apple Blossom
State tree
Southern Pine
Abbreviation
AR
THE OZARKS
The Ozark Plateau is an area of forests and mountains that extends across northern Arkansas. It’s often called the Ozarks. There are many rivers and lakes here, which make the region a popular vacation spot. The Ozarks are made of limestone and sandstone. Limestone is soft and wears away easily. As a result, you can find many caves, strange rock formations, and underground springs in the Ozarks.
Settlers in the Ozarks were isolated, and they held on to pioneer ways. In Mountain View, a town in the Ozarks, you can learn about Ozark traditions. People demonstrate old-time crafts, such as basketwork and quilting, at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. There are concerts of traditional mountain music, played on fiddles, banjos, and other string instruments. The town hosts the Arkansas Folk Festival every year.
HOW ARKANSAS GOT ITS NAME
French explorers came down the Mississippi River in 1673. They found Native American settlements near the place where a river (now called the Arkansas) flows into the Mississippi. One native village had a name that sounded something like Arkansas. Its name was written down many different ways, but eventually the spelling Arkansas won out. Arkansas became the name of the river and the region and later the state.
Arkansas became the 25th state on June 15, 1836. Little Rock was selected as the state capital. The city is on the Arkansas River.
After statehood, there was disagreement about how to say Arkansas. In 1881, the state government created a committee to decide on the correct pronunciation. The committee said AR kan saw is correct, not ar KAN sas. Why are the last two syllables of Arkansas not pronounced like Kansas? Probably because the French pronounced them as kan sah,which became kan saw in English. But no one is really sure.
LITTLE ROCK
Do you know how Little Rock got its name? There are two rock formations on the Arkansas River. The city grew up near the smaller of these formations, so it was called Little Rock. Little Rock is the largest city in the state, as well as the state capital.
Little Rock became the scene of a crisis in civil rights in 1957. Schools in the Southern states had been segregated—that is, separated by race. Black students and white students did not attend the same schools. The Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregation was illegal according to the U.S. Constitution.
In 1957, a group of black students tried to attend all-white Central High School in Little Rock. The governor called out the Arkansas National Guard to turn the students away. United States president Dwight Eisenhower took over control of the Arkansas National Guard. He sent troops to Little Rock to bring the black students safely into the school. Schools across the country slowly began to end segregation.
THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
The Mississippi River forms the eastern border of Arkansas. The river has always had an important role in the state’s history. The land near the river was once swampy, but Arkansas settlers drained it. They built levees (banks to prevent flooding) along the river and farmed the rich soil. Cotton was the most important crop. The river also enabled settlers to transport cotton and other crops cheaply. The part of Arkansas near the Mississippi is often called the Delta.
The Mississippi and the rivers that flow into it are home to many kinds of fish. Many Arkansans love to fish, and fishing draws many tourists to the state.
STUTTGART’S DUCK-CALLING CONTEST
Millions of ducks follow the Mississippi River south in autumn to their wintering spots. Ducks stop in the Arkansas Delta to rest and feed. In the fall, you can hear hunters calling for ducks. In 1936, the town of Stuttgart, Arkansas, held its first duck-calling contest. Seventeen people competed, and the winner was awarded a hunting coat. Today, thousands of people attend this festival during Thanksgiving week.
CRATER OF DIAMONDS
You can hunt for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This park is the only place in the world that offers everyone an opportunity to find diamonds and keep them. Over 23,000 diamonds have been found since the park opened in 1972.
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
Hot Springs National Park is in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. It is named for the 47 springs that gush from Hot Springs Mountain. The hot springs have attracted visitors from around the world. People came to bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as a way of treating rheumatism and other ailments. In 1921, a national park was created to preserve the springs.
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