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55 Fun Facts About Arkansas

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From mining diamonds to having a long wonderful history, the fun facts about Arkansas will fascinate you! So, read on to learn more about this southern state! 

Fun Facts About Arkansas

It’s not nicknamed the “Natural State” for nothing. Arkansas is one of the most breathtaking states in the US, full of rivers, forests, mountains, and more! 

But Arkansas is much more than just beautiful nature. Let me tell you some of the most fun facts about Arkansas. 

1. Arkansas Is the 25th State to Join the US

Let’s start with some historical fun facts about Arkansas. 

Arkansas became the 25th state to join the US on June 15, 1836. Initially, it was a part of French Louisiana. However, after the Louisiana Purchase, Arkansas became a part of the Union. 

55 Fun Facts About Arkansas

2. Little Rock Is the Capital and Biggest City of Arkansas

I’ve found that it’s pretty rare that the biggest city of a state is also its capital. However, these fun facts about Arkansas show that it’s one of those states.

Ironically, Little Rock is the biggest city of Arkansas, and also its capital. The city has a population of more than 200,000 people, and it is the 33rd most populated city in the US. Little Rock is also the 27th largest city in the country with an area of  134,770 square kilometres.

3. The Natural State Is the Nickname of Arkansas

Here are some nickname-related fun facts about Arkansas.

Arkansas has a famous nickname, “The Natural State,” due to how rich it is in natural resources. The state has many lakes, rivers, vast mountain ranges, and many more. In fact, there are 52 state parks, five national parks, and three national forests. 

If you search Arkansas, you’ll also get to see how beautiful it is through its pictures!

4. The Name Arkansas Has a Long History

Here are some naming-related fun facts about Arkansas.

The name of Arkansas originates from the Native American tribes who used to live near the Arkansas River. The Quapaws, living near the river, were called the “Arkansas” or “south wind” by the Algonkian-speaking Indians living in the Ohio Valley. 

However, when the territory’s name was being decided, the two state senators were confused between the spellings “ARkanSAW” and “Ar-KANSAS.” In 1881, the General Assembly passed a resolution that stated that the state should be written as “Arkansas” and pronounced as “Arkansaw.”

5. Arkansas Is One of the World’s Biggest Producers of Bromine

Here are some of the impressive fun facts about Arkansas. 

Arkansas is known for producing three main minerals in abundance – bromine, natural gas, and petroleum

The state is one of the biggest bromine producers in the world. It accounted for about 40% of the world’s total bromine production between the years 1986 and 1990. Later, in 2013, it produced 28% of the world’s bromine and became the second-largest producer of bromine, after Israel

Bromine was first discovered in Union County, Arkansas in 1957. Today, bromine is taken from regions of southern Arkansas.  

6. Arkansas Is the Only US State Mining Diamonds

Do you love diamonds? These fun facts about Arkansas are for you. 

The only diamond mine in the US is the Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is situated near Murfreesboro, in Pike County, Arkansas, and is spread across an area of 911 acres. 

The best part is that you just need to pay a few dollars and explore the state park. If you find any diamonds, you can keep them for yourself! You can also find other gems like garnet, amethyst, hematite, agate, jasper, and many more. 

In 2023, 563 diamonds were found at the park. So, you might even have a chance!

7. The Biggest Diamond in the US Was Found in Arkansas

While we’re talking about diamonds, here is another one of fun facts about Arkansas that you should know. 

The largest diamond in the US, Uncle Sam, was a white diamond that measured around 40.23 carats. It was found at the present-day Crater of Diamonds State Park, in 1924.

55 Fun Facts About Arkansas

The diamond was named after Wesley Oley Basham, a worker at the Arkansas Diamond Corporation, who found the diamond. 

8. Former President Bill Clinton Is Arkansan

This is one of the iconic fun facts about Arkansas. 

The 42nd President of the US, Bill Clinton, was born and raised in Arkansas. He was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas

Later, he attended St. John’s Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas. After completing his schooling years in Arkansas, he went to Georgetown University in Washington DC.

9. Hillary Clinton Was the First Lady of Arkansas

These fun facts about Arkansas show that the state is famous for many well-known people.

Hillary Clinton, the wife of former president Bill Clinton, was the first lady of Arkansas. It is because Bill Clinton served as Arkansas’ governor between the years 1979 and 1981, and even 1983 and 1992. 

During her time as the First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton worked to improve many sectors, especially education and healthcare. 

10. People First Came to Arkansas Around 11,650 BC

Here is one of the historical fun facts about Arkansas. 

Archaeologists have found that the first human settlements in Arkansas were around 11,650 BC. This group of people was known as the “Paleoindian.” The group consisted of less than 50 people. 

Later on, due to improving weather conditions, the human population grew, along with plants and animals.

11. Hernando de Soto Was the First European to Come to Arkansas

Like the other US states, Arkansas was also explored by the Europeans. 

You might’ve heard about Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, who is mainly known for his expeditions in the Yucatan Peninsula and Nicaragua. But, did you know that Hernando was also the first European to discover Arkansas? 

In 1541, Hernando de Soto explored the Southeastern US and crossed the Mississippi River. Hence, he might have even become the first European to step into the land of present-day Arkansas and even Louisiana

12. Arkansas Shares a Border With Six US States

Here are some basic fun facts about Arkansas. 

Arkansas is surrounded by six US states – Missouri (north), Tennessee and Mississippi (east), Oklahoma (west), Texas (southwest), and Louisiana (south). Therefore, it is one of the landlocked states. 

13. The Mississippi Is the State’s Largest River

Arkansas has more than 90,000 miles or 144,841 kilometres of rivers and streams. It is home to 10 large rivers, like the Mississippi River, Arkansas River, Red River, White River, and Ouachita River. 

The Mississippi River is the state’s largest and longest river as it covers a length of 3,730 kilometres. It starts from Minnesota, travels through Arkansas, and drains into the Gulf of Mexico. 

The second-largest river in Arkansas, the Arkansas River, is a major tributary of the Mississippi River and covers a length of 2,364 kilometres.

14. You Might Be Pronouncing Arkansas Wrong! 

This was one of the most surprising fun facts about Arkansas. 

Many people, including I, used to pronounce Arkansas as “Ar-Kan-Sas.” Yet, that is not the correct and actual pronunciation of the state. 

The actual pronunciation of “Arkansas” is “Ar-Kan-Saw.” Well, next time someone pronounces it incorrectly, you can correct them!

15. What’s the Difference Between “Kansas” and “Arkansas”?

Here are some other fun facts about Arkansas. 

Although Arkansas is pronounced as “Ar-kan-saw,” you don’t have to pronounce Kansas as “Kan-saw.” Let’s understand the reason behind it. 

The main reason behind the unique pronunciation of Arkansas is the French settlement. The French named the region after the plural form of the tribe living in present-day Arkansas. In French, the “s” at the end of the word is usually silent. Therefore, it is not pronounced in Arkansas.

On the other hand, the name “Kansas” is derived from the tribe, “Kansa” living in the region. The spelling is inherently English, and hence, we pronounce the “s” in it. 

16. Magazine Mountain Is Arkansas’s Highest Point

These are some geography-related fun facts about Arkansas. 

Arkansas has two main mountain ranges – the Ouachitas and the Ozarks, situated in the western region of the state.

Mount Magazine, located in the Ouachitas mountain range, is the highest point in Arkansas with an elevation of 839 metres or 2753 feet. Apart from the state, it is also the highest point in the US Interior Highlands. 

17. Arkansas Has the Smallest National Park in the US 

The US has 61 national parks. Out of these, the smallest national park, Hot Springs National Park, is situated in central Garland County, Arkansas

The Hot Springs National Park is spread across an area of just 5,550 acres. The largest national park is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, which covers an area of around 13.2 million acres! Hence, it can simply 2,400 Hot Springs National Park within its region. 

Despite being small, the Hot Springs National Park is famous for its breathtaking views, calming thermal springs, and beautiful hikes. 

18. The Mississippi River forms the Eastern Border of Arkansas

As mentioned earlier in these fun facts about Arkansas, the Mississippi River is the largest river in Arkansas. It passes through many southeastern states. 

In Arkansas, it also forms the eastern border and passes through West Memphis (Crittenden County) and Helena-West Helena (Phillips County).

19. Native Americans Were Forced to Leave Arkansas 

This is one of the tragic facts about Arkansas. 

Today, Arkansas is home to five major Native American tribes – Caddo, Quapaw, Chickasaw, Osage, and Tunica tribes. 

However, during the early 1800s, Arkansas saw one of the worst ethnic cleansing of Native American tribes. In 1828, a Native American tribe, the Arkansas Cherokee, had to sell their lands and relocate to the Indian Territory in present-day Kansas and Oklahoma.  

The whole event of the displacement of the Native American tribes in the Southeast US is also called the “Trail of Tears”, as it disrupted the lives of over 60,000 tribes. 

20. Arkansas Has a Diverse Wildlife

In these fun facts about Arkansas, we’ve already established that the state is blessed with natural beauty. 

The US is home to 500 mammal species. Out of these, Arkansas has about 70 species. The most common animals found in Arkansas are the American Black Bear, White-Tailed Deer, Wild Boar, Bobcat, and the Red Fox.

Apart from mammals, you’ll also find 119 reptile and amphibian species in Arkansas. 

21. You Should Check Out Rock House Cave in Arkansas

The Rock House Cave at the Petit Jean State Park in Conway County, Arkansas, is a geological and historical wonder. 

The structure isn’t predominantly a cave. Instead, it is a type of bluff or rock shelter, used by the early humans. Hence, if you explore the Rock House Cave, you’ll find many archaeological wonders, such as 1,000 to 2,000-year-old petroglyphs and pictographs.

Archaeologists suspect that the “cave” was sacred, and used for various rituals. Therefore, the paintings may depict spiritual things or the dreams of the early tribal people. 

22. The Mockingbird Is the State Bird of Arkansas

Arkansas has more than 400 bird species. Out of these, the mockingbird was declared the official state bird on March 5, 1929

There are two major reasons why it was chosen as the state bird. One, it is a common bird across the whole state. Second, the mockingbird has helped farmers with agriculture, as it eats away bugs and weed seeds, and protects the crop. 

23. Arkansas Wanted to Break Away From the US 

Here is one of the most important fun facts about Arkansas. 

In 1861, when the American Civil War began, Arkansas was a Confederate state and not a part of the Union. Therefore, the state wanted to break away from the Union and become a part of another country, formed by eleven southern US states due to disagreements on the abolishment of slavery. 

However, the people of Arkansas wanted to stay with the Union and abolish slavery, as they saw it as an evil and immoral act. Then, in April 1861, Abraham Lincoln put down the rebellion with the help of troops. 

24. Arkansas Has 200 Days of Sunshine 

If you love sunshine, then Arkansas is one of the best states for you! 

As the state is located in the south, it doesn’t receive a lot of cold. Moreover, the sun is out for almost 200 days in the year! It is also the 12th sunniest state in the US with about 50 inches of precipitation per year. 

25. Apple Blossom Is the State Flower of Arkansas

There are over 600 types of native flowers in Arkansas! 

The Apple Blossom was declared the state flower of Arkansas in 1901. It was because Arkansas was one of the largest producers of apples at that time. 

Therefore, the state flower was chosen to express gratitude to one of the most important industries. 

26. One of the Largest Springs is in Arkansas

One of the largest springs in the world, Mammoth Spring, is situated in Fulton County, Mammoth Spring State Park, Arkansas. This 62-acre state park holds about 9 million gallons of water, which is why the spring is named “Mammoth.”

The spring also forms a 10-acre lake, known as the Spring River, which flows southward. 

27. The Buffalo National River Doesn’t Have a Dam

You won’t see many big rivers without a dam in the US. Hence, these are some rare fun facts about Arkansas. 

The Buffalo National River is one of the few major rivers with no dams. The river has a length of 246 kilometres. However, the Arkansas Legislature decided against building a dam on the Buffalo River due to the fears of dwindling populations along its bank. 

Additionally, building a dam would have affected the fish populations and reduced the water levels. It would’ve reduced the natural beauty of the Ozarks too.

28. White-Tailed Deer Is the State Mammal of Arkansas

On April 5, 1993, the white-tailed deer was declared the official state animal of Arkansas. 

As I mentioned earlier, white-tailed deer is one of the most common mammals found in Arkansas. It has been a part of the state and its ecological system for a while, which is why it was given the title of the state mammal. 

29. Douglas Macarthur Was Born in Arkansas

Apart from Bill Clinton, Arkansas was also the hometown of a prominent American military general, Douglas Macarthur. 

General Douglas is well-known for his impressive achievements in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. He was also one of the few people to achieve the five-star rank. 

Douglas Macarthur was born on 26 January 1880 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Today, you can even visit the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, which features many artefacts, photographs, weapons, uniforms, and many more of Arkansas’s military. 

30. There is a City Named Texarkana

You’ll find a city named Texarkana coined from “Texas” and “Arkansas.” It is because the city lies on the border of Texas and Arkansas. The city is also governed by two different governments, including both the Texas government and the Arkansas government.

31. Cheese Dip Was Invented in Arkansas

Did you know that cheese dip was invented in Arkansas? 

According to a cheese dip historian (wait, there’s a historian for that?), cheese dip was invented by a Mexico Chiquito restaurant in 1935, in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

However, some people claim that it was invented in Hot Springs in Arkansas. 

32. Arkansas Is Known for Southern Hush Puppies

No, these fun facts about Arkansas aren’t about puppies. They are about a popular state dish, Southern Hush Puppies.

Southern Hush Puppies consists of slightly sweetened cornmeal batter, along with additional spices and onions. These tiny treats are fried until they are crisp, and are quite popular in Arkansas. 

33. Agriculture Is Important for the State’s Economy

There are many statistics that prove how vital agriculture is to Arkansas. 

Agriculture is responsible for providing more than 243,000 jobs to the state’s residents. It also provides about $16 billion to the state’s economy!

34. Arkansas Is Also Called the Bear State

Before Arkansas was known as the “Natural State,” another nickname “Bear State” was more common. 

At the beginning of the 19th century, Arkansas had a huge Louisiana black bear population. However, in the second half of the century, the population of bears started to dwindle due to hunting activities and other human activities. 

35. Johnny Cash Was Born in the US

Apart from political leaders, Arkansas is also the birth state of talented artists, like Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash, the famous American country singer and songwriter, was born on 26 February 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas

36. Arkansas Has a World Cheese Dip Championship

Being a cheese lover, I wish I were in Arkansas! 

As cheese dip was invented in Arkansas, the state celebrates this tradition by organizing a world cheese dip championship. 

The championship takes place at the Little Rock River Market, in Little Rock, Arkansas around November. It features many people all over the state competing to make the best cheese dip! The winner is chosen through votes.  

37. Arkansas Has a World Duck Calling Championship

Here are some funny fun facts about Arkansas. 

After a world cheese dip championship, Arkansas is also known for the world duck calling championship. 

The world duck-calling championship has called upon only the best duck callers since 1936. The event takes place every year around November in Stuttgart, Arkansas. The winner gets a prize package worth more than $25,000!

38. The Dover Lights in Arkansas Are a Mystery

Here are some spooky fun facts about Arkansas. 

Dover, a little town in Arkansas, is often in the news for its mysterious Dover lights that light up the sky. 

Nobody knows what causes them, or where they come from. There are many speculations surrounding it, as many people believe that they’re the ghosts of lost diamond miners. After all, the lights seem similar to the lanterns of the miners

39. Arkansas Had One of the Largest Ostrich Farms in the US

This is one of the old fun facts about Arkansas. 

Hot Springs, a city in Arkansas, is well-known for its state park and natural beauty. Yet, did you know that once upon a time, it also had the largest ostrich farms in the US?

In the 1900s, the ostrich farm had about 300 ostriches. The farm was closed in 1953, but it’s still a topic of discussion in Arkansas!

40. Arkansas Is One of the Most Affordable States

If you are looking for affordable states to live in the US, then Arkansas might be the one for you!

According to the Entrepreneur magazine, Arkansas is the second-most cheapest state in the US. The cost of living is pretty low, including healthcare, groceries, rent, and many more. Therefore, you can afford a lavish lifestyle compared to states like California and San Francisco. 

41. The First US Female Senator Represented Arkansas 

Here is one of the most significant fun facts about Arkansas. 

In 1932, Hattie Caraway became the first woman to become a US Senator. Although she was born in Tennessee, she represented Arkansas. She stayed the senator of Arkansas between 1931 and 1945.

42. France Claimed the Land of Arkansas Before It Was a US State

After the Spanish explorers set foot in present-day Arkansas in 1541, the region was then captured by the French. 

Robert La Salle, a French explorer, took over the control of the land as a part of the Louisiana territory in 1682, which included many other central US states.  They controlled a major part of their territory through the Arkansas Post. 

Finally, in 1803, the US government took control over the Louisiana Territory, including Arkansas, through the Louisiana Purchase

43. Arkansas Holds a Garden Tiller Race

This is one of the weirdest fun facts about Arkansas! 

Have you ever heard of a garden tiller race? Well, if not, let me introduce you to the World Rototiller Racing Championship. 

The championship is held every year during the PurpleHull Pea festival in Emerson, Arkansas. Some of the fastest garden tillers participate in it. The winner gets to hold the prestige, and also 500 dollars as prize money.

If you’re curious about it, you can even watch many such YouTube videos based on the championship

44. Arkansas Has an Original McDonald’s Golden Arch

I am lovin’ these fun facts about Arkansas!

Arkansas has one of the few original single-arch McDonald’s signs, located in Pine Bluff! 

This iconic sign was built in 1962 and remained at its original location until 2007. When the McDonald’s restaurant relocated in 2007, the sign was also moved to the new location! Also, it was even added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

45. Arkansas Has a Population of 3 Million People 

These are a few population-related fun facts about Arkansas. 

As of 2023, Arkansas is the 33rd most populous state with a population of 3.06 million. It has an area of 137,733 square kilometres and ranks 29th in terms of land size. 

The state consists of 70.2% White American, 15.1% Black or African American, and 0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native. 

46. Rice Is an Important Crop in Arkansas

Here are some agriculture-related fun facts about Arkansas. 

If we’re talking about Arkansas’ agriculture, we need to talk about rice! The state produces more than 9 billion pounds each year or 46% of the nation’s supply.

It is no surprise that the rice industry adds billions to the state’s economy, and also offers more than 25,000 jobs

Therefore, rice is the most important agricultural export of the state, and also the second-highest-value commodity. 

Rice is mainly grown in the eastern region of Arkansas. 

47. Arkansas Has a Simple Flag

Here are some flag-related fun facts about Arkansas. 

Unlike other US states with decorative flags, Arkansas’ flag is pretty simple and straightforward. 

The flag has a red background colour. There are two concentric diamonds on it, which represent the state’s rich diamond industry. 

Additionally, the inner diamond consists of four stars, representing the Confederate States of America. On the other hand, the outer diamond has 25 stars, representing that Arkansas is the 25th state to join the Union. In the middle of the flag, “Arkansas” is written. 

This flag was approved on April 10, 1924.

48. Milk Is the State Beverage of Arkansas

There are about 32 states with an official beverage. Out of this, 21 US states, including Arkansas, have declared milk as the state beverage.

In 1985, the Arkansas Legislature declared milk as its official state beverage due to its healthfulness, to encourage milk consumption, and to recognise its significance in the dairy industry.

49. The Honeybee Is the State Insect of Arkansas

The honeybee was declared the official state insect of Arkansas on February 1, 1973. The Arkansas Legislature recognized the contribution of honeybees in agriculture, and hence, decided to make it the state insect. 

Apart from Arkansas, the honeybee is also the state insect of 15 other US states! It shows how important honeybees are.

50. 56% Of Arkansas Is Forested

Here is one of the impressive fun facts about Arkansas. 

The forests in Arkansas cover 56% of the entire state! There are more than 19 million acres of forest cover and 11.9 billion trees. 

There are two major forests – the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest and the Ouachita National Forest. Both are responsible for blessing the state with ample forest cover. 

51. Arkansas Post Was the First Capital of the Arkansas

Many US states have had different capital cities in the past, including Arkansas. 

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Arkansas Post became the first capital of Arkansas between 1819 and 1821. It was the largest city at that time, and also a thriving port. However, many problems such as flooding caused problems with human settlements and industries. 

Therefore, Territorial Governor James Miller declared Little Rock as Arkansas’ capital on October 18, 1820.  Little Rock was also centrally located and close to the Arkansas River without any flooding risks.  

52. Dr M. Joycelyn Elders Was Born in Arkansas

Here’s one of the legendary fun facts about Arkansas. 

Dr M. Joycelyn Elders, the first African-American Surgeon General of the US, was born August 13, 1933, in Schaal, Arkansas

M. Joycelyn was appointed the US Surgeon General in 1993 by Bill Clinton. She was also the second woman to hold that post at that time! 

Additionally, she studied at the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock and became the only woman to graduate from there in 1960. Talk about girl power!

53. Loblolly Pine Is the State Tree of Arkansas

As Arkansas is the “Natural State,” you’ll find over 100 tree species there. 

In 1939, the Loblolly Pine was declared the state tree of Arkansas. This tree grows across the whole state and is one of the most important timber species in Arkansas.

54. Fried Pickles Were Invented in Arkansas

If you hate pickles, these fun facts about Arkansas aren’t for you!

Many people believe that fried pickles were first introduced in Arkansas. In 1963, a man named Bernell “Fatman” Austin invented and popularized fried pickles at the Duchess Drive, in Atkins, Arkansas

The original recipe for fried pickles is a family secret of the Fatman’s! The family only uses it at the annual Picklefest that takes place around May in Atkins.

55. Regnat Populus Is the State Motto of Arkansas

In 1907, Arkansas adopted the state motto “Regnat Populus.” It is a Latin phrase, translating to “the people rule.”

The motto is printed on many state documents and even the official state seal. It signifies the free will of people in a country, like the US, built on democratic principles. 

Further Reading – Fun Facts About Arkansas

Reading and writing these fun facts about Arkansas was pretty exciting! The state is known for its quirks, influential leaders and people, and a mind-blowing history. 

I hope you also enjoyed reading these fun facts about Arkansas. You can also read here:

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