History of Arkansas

By | September 23, 2022

The southern US state of Arkansas is nicknamed Natural State and The Land of Opportunity. The capital is Little Rock. According to ablogtophone, the state has a total area of ​​137,539 km² and approximately 2.9 million inhabitants.

The current state of America was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Quapaw. The first Europeans set foot on Arkansas around 1541. As far as is known, Spanish explorer / conquistador Hernando de Soto was the first to visit the area. However, the French established the first settlements in the area in 1686.

It was therefore the French who owned the area for a long time. Arkansas was for some time in the possession of Spain in the late eighteenth century, but the French later regained it and sold it to the United States in 1803. This sale was part of the so-called Louisiana Purchase, in which the US bought the area west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains from France.

Arkansas Territory was established in 1819 and on June 15, 1836, Arkansas formally joined the United States as the 25th. During the American Civil War, which took place between 1861 and 1865, the state sided with the southern Confederate States of America.

Little Rock Nine

Arkansas’ capital, Little Rock, made global headlines in 1957 over a conflict over racial segregation in schools. A law abolished racial segregation in public schools, but Arkansas governor at the time, Orval Faubus, refused to cooperate. He sent the National Guard to a school in Little Rock on September 4, 1957 to prevent nine black students from entering the school. Also known as the Little Rock Nine, these students tried to re-enter the school on September 23. President Eisenhower sent troops into the school this time to protect the black children. The children did manage to enter the school amid loud cheers of racist slogans.

Arkansas Flag

According to bestitude, the Little Rock Nine were rewarded in 2000 for their courage in opposing racial segregation in Arkansas. They each received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Pea Ridge National Military Park

During the American Civil War, one of the great battles took place in northeast Arkansas, near Pea Ridge. In 1862, American soldiers, along with the Cherokees, Chikas, Chokts, Ogres, Kriks, and Seminols, fought against the Union Army. The Indian army was composed of about 800 men who had no military training and were armed, with few exceptions, with hunting rifles and shotguns.

Although they were not trained in any way, the Indians did not do badly in the fight. They defeated the enemy unit and after heavy bloodshed captured the federal artillery cavalry. During the battle with the cavalry, several Cherokees scalped at least eight Union soldiers. The Southerners then had to retreat, but the Indians could not understand and wanted to continue the fight. General Albert Pike had to do something to withdraw them from the fight. The general then let it be heard that the Indians were good warriors, but they lacked morality and obedience. None of his orders interested him. It was therefore necessary to provide them with better command, training, weapons and fully engage them in larger battles.

As soon as the Union’s soldiers learned of the practices carried out by the Indians in battle, they mercilessly tortured and killed Indian prisoners. The events at Pea Ridge thus sparked a wave of resentment and launched a northern invasion of Indian territory. Many Indians therefore refused to continue to serve the Confederacy.

Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail

The original inhabitants of Arkansas and other areas of North America were the Cherokee Indians, whose culture was among the most advanced in this part of America. The members of this tribe were mainly engaged in agriculture and their culture was so developed that they even had their own script. At the beginning of the 19th century, these Indians were granted the status of a sovereign nation, which had its rights and duties and was completely self-sufficient.

In 1838, during the reign of President Andrew Jackson, they were all forcibly evicted to Oklahoma. The route they had to take involuntarily was called the Tears Trail. It was a difficult march to find a new home in an unknown landscape, to nowhere, in which more than 5,000 members of the tribe perished. Thanks to this inhuman act, the USA was able to take over more territory and significantly expand its country.

Those who were more fortunate managed to escape to the mountains and find a quiet place to live. Today, their descendants live in the thousands of individuals in the Qualla Indian Reservation. Here you will find a tourist information center, where you can get acquainted with the lives of ordinary Indians who, at the time, achieved great cultural and general education, and for which they eventually paid extra. Today, there is even an Indian Village in the Oconaluftee area.