Arkansas

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Template:US state Arkansas (pronounced /ˈɑ(r)k(ə)nˌsɑː/ or /ˈɑ(r)k(ə)nˌsɔ/) is a southern state in the United States. The population according to the 2000 census was 2,673,400. Its U.S. postal abbreviation is AR, and its Associated Press abbreviation is Ark. It was admitted as the 25th state of the United States in 1836.

History

The early French explorers of the state gave it its name, which is probably a phonetic spelling for the French word for "downriver" people, a reference to the Quapaw people and the river along which they settled. Other Native American nations living in present-day Arkansas were Caddo, Cherokee and Osage Nations.

On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state of the United States as a slave state. Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861 during the American Civil War. Under the Military Reconstruction Act, Congress, by June 1868, had readmitted Arkansas, as well as North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

The state is the only one with an official pronunciation. The traditional form "arkanSAW" was made official by the state legislature in 1881.

Law and government

The current governor of Arkansas is Mike Huckabee, a Republican. Mike Huckabee, who had been elected lieutenant governor in a 1993 special election, ascended to the governor's office in 1996 when Governor Jim Guy Tucker, a Democrat, was convicted as part of the Whitewater Scandal. This led to a state "Constitutional crisis" when Tucker refused to give up the governor's office for a short period of time, because the Arkansas Constitution does not allow a convicted felon to be governor of the state. Tucker had been lieutenant governor under Bill Clinton and had become governor as a result of Clinton's election to the presidency.

Arkansas's two U.S. Senators are Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. The state has four seats in Congress. Three seats are held by Democrats—Marion Berry (District 1 map)), Vic Snyder (District 2 map), and Mike Ross (District 4 map)). One seat is held by the state's lone Republican Congressman, John Boozman (District 3 map). The Democratic Party holds super-majority status in the Arkansas General Assembly. Republicans actually lost seats in the State House in 2004. A majority of local and statewide offices are also held by Democrats. This arrangement is extremely rare in the modern South, where a majority of statewide offices are held by Republicans.

Most Republican strength lies mainly in northwest Arkansas in the area around Fort Smith, while the rest of the state is strongly Democratic. Arkansas has only elected one Republican to the United States Senate since Reconstruction. However, the Arkansas General Assembly has not been controlled by the Republican Party since Reconstruction, and is the fourth most Democratic Legislature in the country, after Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

In Arkansas, the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor and thus can be from a different political party.

Each office's term is four years long. Office holders are term-limited to two full terms plus any partial terms prior to the first full term.

Some of Arkansas' counties have two county seats, as opposed to the usual one seat. The arrangement dates back to when travel was extremely difficult in the states. The seats are usually on opposite sides of the county. Though travel is no longer the difficulty it once was, there are few efforts to eliminate the two seat arrangement where it exists, since the county seat is a source of pride (and jobs) to the city involved.

Section 105 of Chapter 4 of Title 1 of the Arkansas code[1] determines the official, codified pronunciation of Arkansas: "It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final "s" silent, the "a" in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables." The same section states that the variation are-KAN-sas "is an innovation to be discouraged." It is believed that Arkansas is the only U.S. State with such a law on the books.

See: List of Arkansas Governors

State symbols

The following state symbols are officially recognized by the state law.

Geography

See: List of Arkansas counties, List of cities in Arkansas, List of Arkansas townships.

The capital of Arkansas is Little Rock. Arkansas is the only state in the US where diamonds are found naturally (near Murfreesboro, Arkansas).

The eastern border for most of Arkansas is the Mississippi River except in Clay and Greene counties where the St. Francis River forms the western boundary of the Missouri Bootheel. Arkansas shares its southern border with Louisiana, its northern border with Missouri, its eastern border with Tennessee and Mississippi, and its western border with Texas and Oklahoma. Arkansas is a beautiful land of mountains and valleys, thick forests and fertile plains. Northwest Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau including the Boston Mountains, to the south are the Ouachita Mountains and these regions are divided by the Arkansas River; the southern and eastern parts of Arkansas are called the Lowlands.

The so called Lowlands are better known as the Delta and the Grand Prairie. The land along the Mississippi river is referred to as the "Delta" of Arkansas. It gets this name from the formation of its rich alluvial soils formed from the flooding of the mighty Mississippi. The Grand Prairie is slightly away from the Mississippi river in the southeast portion of the state and consists of a more undulating landscape. Both are fertile agricultural areas and home to much of the crop agriculture in the state.

File:PetitJean.jpg
Petit Jean State Park, one of many attractions that give the state's nickname The Natural State.

Arkansas is home to many caves, such as Blanchard Springs Caverns. Hot Springs National Park and the Buffalo National River can also be found within its borders.

Interstate highways

United States highways

North-south routes East-west routes

Economy

The state's total gross state product for 2003 was $76 billion. Its Per Capita Personal Income for 2003 was $24,384, 50th in the nation. The state's agriculture outputs are poultry and eggs, soybeans, sorghum, cattle, cotton, rice, hogs, and milk. Its industrial outputs are food processing, electric equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery, paper products, bromine, and vanadium.

In recent years, automobile parts manufacturers have opened factories in eastern Arkansas to support auto plants in other states (though Arkansas does not, as of August 2005, have an auto plant itself).

Tourism is also very important to the Arkansas economy; the official state nickname "The Natural State" is prominently displayed in state tourism advertising.

Demographics

See also: List of people from Arkansas
Historical populations
Census
year
Population

1810 1,062
1820 14,273
1830 30,388
1840 97,574
1850 209,897
1860 435,450
1870 484,471
1880 802,525
1890 1,128,211
1900 1,311,564
1910 1,574,449
1920 1,752,204
1930 1,854,482
1940 1,949,387
1950 1,909,511
1960 1,786,272
1970 1,923,295
1980 2,286,435
1990 2,350,725
2000 2,673,400

As of 2003, the state's population was 2,725,714 according to Census Bureau estimates.

48.8% is male, and 51.2% is female.

Racially, Arkansas is:

The five largest ancestry groups in the state are: American (15.9%), African American (15.7%), Irish (9.5%), German (9.3%), English (7.9%).

People of American ancestry have a strong presence in the northwestern Ozarks and the central part of the state. Blacks live mainly in the fertile southern and eastern parts of the state, especially along the Mississippi river. Arkansans of British and German ancestry are mostly found in the far northwestern Ozarks near the Missouri border.

As of 2000, 95.0% of Arkansas residents age 5 and older speak English at home and 3.3% speak Spanish. French is the third most spoken language at 0.3%, followed by German at 0.3% and Vietnamese at 0.1%.

Religion

Arkansas, like most other Southern states, is overwhelmingly Protestant. The religious affiliations of the people are as follows:

Important cities and towns

Education and Research centers

Centers of Research

Colleges and universities

See also

External links

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