1. A river that rises in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and flows southeast through Kansas and Oklahoma and through Arkansas to become a tributary of the Mississippi River; Also called: Arkansas River.
2. A state in south central United States; one of the Confederate states during the American Civil War; Also called: Land of Opportunity.
State in S central US; nicknamed Wonder State/Land of Opportunity
Area 137,800 sq km/53,191 sq mi
Capital Little Rock
Towns and cities Fort Smith, Pine Bluff, Fayetteville
Physical Ozark Mountains and plateau in the W, lowlands in the E; Arkansas River; many lakes
Features the Ozark Mountains and Ozark national forest; Arkansas and Mississippi rivers; Buffalo national river (the
First river in the US to be designated a national river, 1972); Felsenthal national wildlife refuge; Ouachita national forest; Hot Springs, a spa town with renovated art deco hotels, including the Arlington, with Hot Springs national park, and the boyhood home of President Bill Clinton; Hope, the birthplace of President Clinton, with Old Washington historic state park (the state capital during the Civil War), and Hope Watermelon Festival; Arkansas Post, the first European settlement in French Louisiana; Fort Smith national historic site; Prairie Grove Battlefield Park; Shiloh historic district and museum; Eureka Springs, a 19th-century spa town in the Ozark Mountains; Little Rock, with the Old State House (1830s), the Quapaw Quarter (a restored 19th-century neighborhood, with the Villa Marre, 1881), Arkansas Territorial Reservation (a group of 14 buildings from the early 1800s), and the Arkansas Arts Center
Industries cotton, soy beans, rice, oil, natural gas, bauxite, timber, processed foods
Famous people Johnny Cash, Bill Clinton, J William Fulbright, Douglas MacArthur, Winthrop Rockefeller
History explored by Hernando de Soto 1541; European settlers 1648, who traded with local Indians; part of Louisiana Purchase 1803; statehood achieved 1836.
The first European settlement was Arkansas Post, founded by some of the companions of the French explorer La Salle. After seceding from the Union 1861 (see Confederacy), it was readmitted 1868.
In 1957 President Eisenhower sent US troops to enforce a court order to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock after Governor Orval Faubus had called up the National Guard to block integration.