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.
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 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.
The following state symbols are officially recognized by the state law.
- State American Folk Dance: Square Dance
- State Anthem: Arkansas by Eva Ware Barnett
- State Beverage: Milk
- State Bird: Mockingbird
- State Flower: Apple Blossom
- State Folk Dance: Square Dance
- State Fruit: South Arkansas Vine ripe Pink Tomato
- State Gem: Diamond
- State Historical Song: The Arkansas Traveler (folk song)
- State Historic Cooking Vessel: Dutch Oven
- State Insect: Honeybee
- State Mammal: Whitetail Deer
- State Mineral: Quartz Crystal
- State Motto: Regnat Populus (The People Rule)
- State Musical Instrument: the Fiddle
- State Rock: Bauxite
- State Soil: Stuttgart Soil Series
- State Songs: "Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)" by Wayland Holyfield and "Oh, Arkansas" by Terry Rose and Gary Klass
- State Tree: Pine
- State Vegetable: South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato
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.
- Interstate 30
- Interstate 40
- Interstate 55
- Interstate 430
- Interstate 440
- Interstate 530
- Interstate 540
- Interstate 630
|North-south routes||East-west routes|
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.
- See also: List of people from Arkansas
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:
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%.
Arkansas, like most other Southern states, is overwhelmingly Protestant. The religious affiliations of the people are as follows:
- Christian – 86%
- Other Religions – <1%
- Non-Religious – 14%
Important cities and towns
Education and Research centers
Centers of Research
- Arkansas Cherokee Indian Research
- Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center website
- National Center for Toxicological Research website
Colleges and universities
- University of Arkansas System
- Arkansas Baptist College
- Arkansas Tech University
- Central Baptist College
- Harding University
- Henderson State University
- Hendrix College
- John Brown University
- Lyon College
- Ouachita Baptist University
- Philander Smith College
- Southern Arkansas University
- University of Central Arkansas
- University of the Ozarks
- Williams Baptist College
- Arkansas State University System
- Arkansas Literature
- Ivory-billed Woodpecker, long thought extinct, was recently re-discovered in the Big Woods of Arkansas
- South Arkansas
- Official State website Homepage
- Facts About Arkansas
- U.S. Census Bureau
- Arkansas Newspapers
- Arkansas State Code (the state statutes of Arkansas)
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