Arkansas’ landscape varies greatly from mountainous to forested to plain, earning it a reputation for diversity. As the 29th largest state in the United States, there are many interesting and fun facts about Arkansas that also make it an enticing state to visit.
This southern state is home to a range of attractions, from the Ozark Mountains in the north to the Delta region in the south. Here are 20 interesting facts about Arkansas, its history, and its culture that will make you want to visit today!
Quick Facts And Statistics About Arkansas
[As of 2022]
- Capital: Little Rock
- Population: 3.05 million (33rd Populous State in the U.S)
- Land Area: 53,180 sq mi / 137,733 km² (29th Largest in U.S)
- Nickname: The Natural State
- Abbreviation: AR
- Statehood: June 15, 1836 (25th U.S State)
- State Bird: Mockingbird
- State Flower: Apple Blossom
General Facts About Arkansas
Arkansas is a landlocked state.
Arkansas is one of the sixteen states of the United States that are landlocked, which means they do not have any ocean coasts surrounding its border. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t spend some nice time by the water in Arkansas.
Arkansas is 29th largest state in the US.
Arkansas, the 29th largest state, has a total area of 53,179 square miles (137,732 square kilometers). This places it between Alabama and North Carolina in terms of size or on par with the size of Greece.
Arkansas is 33rd most populous state in the US.
Other popular facts about Arkansas are the population of the state. With a population of little more than 3 million people, Arkansas is the 33rd most populated state in the country.
Historical Facts About Arkansas
Arkansas derived its name from Acansaw.
An interesting fact about Arkansas is the origin of its name. The Native American word acansaw, derived from the state’s name, means “downstream place.” The state was named after the Quapaw tribe and the river on which they had originally resided by early French explorers.
The Spanish were the ones who discovered Arkansas before anyone else.
Hernando de Soto, a Spanish conquistador, and explorer is credited with being the first person to lead an expedition into what is now the state of Arkansas in 1541.
Hernando traveled west of the Mississippi River and delved deep into the heart of Arkansas before turning around and heading back to the waterway since he didn’t discover much of interest to either him or Spain.
Hernando became ill and passed away in a region that was most likely present-day McArthur, Mississippi, at the time. His troops continued their journey southward till they reached Texas before they ran out of food.
After that, they made their way back to Arkansas, where they constructed a fleet of boats in preparation for their journey down the Mississippi River toward Mexico.
The French founded the state’s first European Settlement in what is now Arkansas.
The region was discovered in 1681 by French explorers Robert La Salle and Henri de Tonti, also known as “Thunder-Arm.”
In 1686, Henri founded Arkansas Post, the earliest European settlement in the state, in the state’s lower Mississippi valley. Around this time, the surrounding region became known by the French term “Arcansas,” which translates to “the Arkansas.”
For over two centuries before Little Rock was chosen as the state capital in 1836, Arkansas was governed by the Arkansas Post. The Arkansas Post National Memorial was established to preserve 757.51 acres, including the original location of Arkansas Post (306.55 hectares).
Interesting Facts About Arkansas
The Texarkana is coined from Texas and Arkansas
An interesting fact about Arkansas is the ‘Texakana’ The city of Texarkana can be found directly on the border between Arkansas and Texas.
Two separate governments govern Texarkana; one represents the Arkansas side, while the other represents the Texas side. The Texarkana post office building is visible from both Arkansas and Texas.
More than half of the state is covered in trees and other vegetation.
In Arkansas, there were around 18,720,000 acres (75,757 km2) of forestland as of the year 2010, which corresponds to approximately 56% of the state’s total area. It is estimated that around 11.8 billion trees are spread across this forestland.
Only 13% of forested land is protected as a national forest, which is an interesting fact about Arkansas considering the state’s extensive forest cover. Private landowners hold the majority of the ownership, which amounts to a whopping 58%!
Arkansas is home to rice production.
Arkansas’s rice sector is worth a billion dollars annually. Without a doubt, Arkansas is the top rice-producing state in the United States. This is one of the proud and fun facts about Arkansas.
Arkansas’s first rice crop was supposedly grown on a single acre of land in Lonoke County in 1902. However, some reports from the past imply that rice was farmed in Arkansas before the Civil War.
Bill Clinton was the former governor of Arkansas.
Before becoming president, Bill Clinton served as governor of Arkansas. He was the state’s governor for a total of two terms.
The Natural State
Originally known as the “Land of Opportunity,” the state adopted the nickname “The Natural State” in 1995. This nickname is one of the things that Arkansas is known for today.
That definitely comes as a positive since the goal of the change was to boost tourism in the state.
Arkansas is often referred to as “The Natural State” because of the state’s pristine natural landscapes, clean waterways, and many native species.
The University Of Arkansas was founded in 1871.
In the first year of classes, there were eight undergraduates and three professors at the University. It has been more than 145 years, but the University still teaches people from 120 different nations.
Bill and Hillary Clinton started in the legal profession as professors at the University of Arkansas. Certainly one of the interesting facts about Arkansas that the state holds in high regard.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Arkansas was in 1936.
Another interesting fact about Arkansas is the highest temperature ever recorded in the state. In 1936, at Ozark, Arkansas, a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) was recorded as the highest in the state.
Mammoth Spring is the 7th largest in the world.
The state’s northernmost Mammoth Spring is the seventh largest spring in the entire world. More than nine million gallons per hour, at a steady cool 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius), flow from it.
Arkansas is one of the poorest states.
Despite having abundant natural resources, Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the United States. The state is, nevertheless, also among the most generous.
Fun Facts About Arkansas
The only diamond mine that is still operational in The United States can be found in Arkansas.
A fun fact about Arkansas is that the state has the only diamond mining in the United States. The Crater of Diamonds State Park, situated in Pike County, Arkansas, is the very last area in the United States where diamond mining is still permitted.
The Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine in Colorado was the other diamond mine that ever operated in the United States. In total, there were only two diamond mines in the country.
Visitors to the Crater of Diamonds state park can try their hand at mining for diamonds themselves. This experience draws plenty of visitors to the park in recent years.
Arkansas has crazy laws.
Arkansas has amassed an unusual body of legislation throughout the years. Some of these laws have been eliminated, but a couple holds on as historical curiosities. There are many crazy and fun facts about Arkansas.
It was against the law for the Arkansas River to rise over Little Rock’s main street bridge for a while. It is also against the law in Little Rock to use a car horn after 9 p.m. near businesses that offer sandwiches or cold beverages.
Probably one of the weirdest – it was against the law to keep an alligator in a bathtub, albeit this is another strange law that has more to do with urban legend than reality.
Arkansas Is home to different species of birds.
A total of 300 different bird species call Alaska home, including bald eagles, blue jays, flycatchers, and more. Bird and nature lovers will find paradise in Arkansas.
Cheese dip originated in Arkansas.
In 1935, a man named Blackie Donnelly came up with the idea for cheese dip, a dish that has endured through the decades as a favorite appetizer and snack.
Mexico Chiquito, an Arkansas institution, was founded by Blackie, who also served as its original owner and proprietor.
Nick Rogers, a local Arkansas filmmaker, made a documentary called “In Queso Fever: A Movie about Cheese Dip” about the history and cultural significance of cheese dip in the state.
The documentary became a hit in its home city, and its subject, Nick Rogers, went on to found the World Cheese Dip Championship.
Artificial lighting is prohibited in State Parks.
In Arkansas, it is illegal to use artificial lighting to illuminate the road in state parks and other wildlife management zones, for the purpose of viewing/spotting wildlife. So, strictly speaking, photographing a sleeping bear is against the law.
LEARN MORE ABOUT U.S. STATES
Discovering More Fun Facts In Arkansas
These are 20 exciting and interesting facts about Arkansas. Have you learned anything new about this fascinating, sprawling Natural state? Arkansas is perfect for a quick getaway because you will learn some fascinating and unexpected things.
There are many interesting landmarks in Arkansas and tourists are welcome to visit them. The city has various attractions and local culture that you should take advantage of during your stay.