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Arkansas ( AR[email protected]) is a landlocked state in the South Central United States. It is bordered by Missouri to the north, Tennessee and Mississippi to the east, Louisiana to the south, and Texas and Oklahoma to the west. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegiha Siouan language, and referred to their relatives, the Quapaw people. The state’s diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, the densely wooded land in the south, known as the Arkansas Timberlands to the eastern lowlands of the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
Arkansas is the 29th largest by area and the 34th most populous state, with a population of just over 3 million at the 2020 census. Little Rock, the capital and most populous place in Arkansas, is the center of the state. It is a hub for transportation and business, culture and government. The northwestern corner of the state, including the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Area and Fort Smith metropolitan area, is a population, education, and economic center. Jonesboro is the largest city in the eastern part of the state. Pine Bluff is the largest city in the state’s southeastern region.
The Territory of Arkansas, which was previously part of French Louisiana and Louisiana Purchase, was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836 as the 25th state. Much of the Delta had been developed for cotton plantations, and landowners there largely depended on enslaved African Americans’ labor. Arkansas seceded in 1861 from the United States and joined Confederate States of America during American Civil War. On returning to the Union in 1868, Arkansas continued to suffer economically, due to its overreliance on the large-scale plantation economy. Cotton remained the leading commodity crop, and the cotton market declined. The state was left behind in economic opportunities because farmers and businessmen didn’t diversify and there wasn’t much industrial investment. In the late 19th century, the state instituted various Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise and segregate the African-American population. Little Rock and Arkansas were key battlegrounds in the civil rights movement of 1950s and 1960s.