July 18, 2012

Arkansas – “The Natural State”


Arkansas Map

Just the Facts…

bird – Mockingbird
flower – Apple Blossom
tree – Shortleaf Pine
capital – Little Rock
union – 25th state on December 14, 1819
population – about 3 million




The Basics 

The name “Arkansas” came from the French pronunciation of a Native American term “akakaze,” which generally meant “people who were down river.”  Arkansas is in between Missouri and Louisiana along the Mississippi River.  Like the rest of that part of America, it was first settled by the French.

The northwestern part of Arkansas is part of the Ozark Mountain Range; the Ouachita Mountains are in southern Arkansas, with a lush valley in between.   The Arkansas River runs through that valley.  Much of Arkansas is still wilderness and forests.


Its Claim to Fame

The “Trail of Tears” runs through Arkansas.  It is a national historical trail that follows the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern part of America to their designated territory (which was the area that is now Oklahoma).   The official trail goes through nine states and covers more than 2,000 miles.    Some Native American tribes “voluntarily” gave up their land and headed west to Oklahoma, but some tribes had to be forced to leave their homeland.  They all took the Trail of Tears west.

Arkansas played a big role in the Mexican War of 1846.  Texas wanted to become an American state, but there was a problem.  Mexico never recognized the Republic of Texas as being independent, despite the fact that the war for independence was fought 10 years before.  As a result, both America and Mexico claimed to own Texas – so they went to war over it.  Arkansas troops fought in many os the important battles, which led to an American victory and the great state of Texas as we know it today.


What Makes it Tick

Arkansas is home to one of America’s largest companies – Walmart.  Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, opened his first store in Arkansas.  Now, Walmart has a store in almost every state – your family may even shop at one!  But, Walmart also has many stores that operate under different names, like Sam’s Club and stores around the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

After the Civil War, Arkansas developed a very strong timber industry – making everything from lumber to paper to newspaper to charcoal.  Many parts of Arkansas are heavily wooded, with a wide variety of trees that allowed for many different wood products.  The market for all these products really took off once the railroads were developed enough to transport them to the eastern part of America.  Even now, Arkansas provides America with a wide variety of timber products.


If You Visited

You might visit Crater of Diamonds State Park!  It is one of the only locations in North America where diamonds have been found.  And, the state park is a place where the general public can search for diamonds – and keep what they find!!   The state park is located on an ancient volcano crater – the heat of the volcanic eruptions formed the gems a long time ago.

You might explore some of Arkansas’ famous caves!  The Ozarks are filled with limestone caves.  These caves are a world unto themselves – with underwater rivers and creatures, mazes, crystals, fossils, and colorful stalactite and stalagmite (do you remember which comes down from the ceiling and which comes up from the ground?).  There are also a lot of Native American artifacts and sites in the caves.

Or, you may visit nature’s own spa near Hot Springs, Arkansas.   There are 47 natural springs just north of town, which are filled with water from below the earth.  When the spring water comes out of the earth it is about 140 degrees – that’s hot!   Hot Springs National Park is one of our oldest federally preserved parks – as a result it got its own quarter in 2010 as part of the US Mint’s new “America the Beautiful” series of quarters – keep a look out for it!


Want to Know More? 

Check our Arkansas state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Do you live in Arkansas? Or, maybe you have visited Arkansas?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about Arkansas?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Arkansas to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Arkansas.  Visit these websites to learn more: