Arkansas, once part of France and Spain, has been the 25th state in the United States since 1836. Arkansas ranks at the bottom of the 50 states in terms of wealth and gross domestic product per capita.

The state of Arkansas with its capital Little Rock is located in the southern United States of America and borders the states of Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri. To the east, the Mississippi, which separates Arkansas from Tennessee and the state of Mississippi, forms the natural border. Around 3 million people live in an area of almost 138,000 km² (as of 2016). 80% of them are white (as of 2019). In terms of GDP per capita of all states, Arkansas ranks next to last (as of 2018) of all states. Only Mississippi is poorer.

Arkansas State Bird and Flower

Brief overview of Arkansas history

In the 16th and 17th centuries, European explorers first penetrated the area that has been inhabited by various Indian tribes for thousands of years and is now known as Arkansas. The first colonial settlement in the form of the French trading post “Arkansas Post” emerged at the end of the 17th century. The name “Arkansas” goes back to an Indian word that means something like “land of the people who live downstream”. As a result, the area belonged to the French colony Louisiana, later fell to Spain and returned to French ownership in 1800. In June 1836 it came to the United States as part of the Louisiana Land Purchase, in which the United States acquired over 2 million km² of land from the French, and has been their 25th state since then.

Arkansas in modern times

Although Arkansas has rich natural resources, the state is one of the poorest in the United States. The most important branch of the economy is agriculture with a focus on growing rice, soybeans, cotton and poultry farming. Arkansas came into the public eye when the until then relatively unknown governor of the state, Bill Clinton, was nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. In November 1992 he won against his Republican challenger George Bush and held the office until 2001.

Largest Counties in Arkansas by Area

According to Countryaah, the biggest counties in Arkansas are listed as below:

Ranking County Area
1 Union County 2,733 km2
2 White County 2,700 km2
3 Arkansas County 2,678 km2
4 Washington County 2,465 km2
5 Yell County 2,457 km2
6 Ashley County 2,432 km2
7 Mississippi County 2,382 km2
8 Jefferson County 2,366 km2
9 Scott County 2,326 km2
10 Benton County 2,292 km2
11 Clark County 2,286 km2
12 Polk County 2,234 km2
13 Madison County 2,168 km2
14 Drew County 2,164 km2
15 Pope County 2,152 km2
16 Newton County 2,132 km2
17 Desha County 2,123 km2
18 Pulaski County 2,092 km2
19 Lonoke County 2,078 km2
20 Montgomery County 2,073 km2
21 Independence County 1,998 km2
22 Columbia County 1,986 km2
23 Poinsett County 1,977 km2
24 Hempstead County 1,920 km2
25 Ouachita County 1,916 km2
26 Garland County 1,903 km2
27 Logan County 1,895 km2
28 Saline County 1,892 km2
29 Phillips County 1,884 km2
30 Van Buren County 1,876 km2
31 Craighead County 1,847 km2
32 Chicot County 1,789 km2
33 Johnson County 1,768 km2
34 Prairie County 1,750 km2
35 Dallas County 1,731 km2
36 Searcy County 1,731 km2
37 Faulkner County 1,720 km2
38 Randolph County 1,699 km2
39 Bradley County 1,695 km2
40 St. Francis County 1,664 km2
41 Clay County 1,661 km2
42 Jackson County 1,661 km2
43 Marion County 1,659 km2
44 Carroll County 1,655 km2
45 Miller County 1,651 km2
46 Crittenden County 1,649 km2
47 Grant County 1,639 km2
48 Calhoun County 1,638 km2
49 Cross County 1,612 km2
50 Hot Spring County 1,611 km2
51 Monroe County 1,609 km2
52 Nevada County 1,608 km2
53 Fulton County 1,607 km2
54 Franklin County 1,605 km2
55 Lee County 1,604 km2
56 Pike County 1,590 km2
57 Stone County 1,578 km2
58 Sharp County 1,570 km2
59 Crawford County 1,565 km2
60 Boone County 1,559 km2
61 Cleveland County 1,551 km2
62 Howard County 1,542 km2
63 Woodruff County 1,539 km2
64 Lawrence County 1,534 km2
65 Cleburne County 1,533 km2
66 Baxter County 1,520 km2
67 Izard County 1,513 km2
68 Sevier County 1,506 km2
69 Greene County 1,501 km2
70 Lincoln County 1,482 km2
71 Conway County 1,468 km2
72 Little River County 1,463 km2
73 Perry County 1,452 km2
74 Sebastian County 1,414 km2
75 Lafayette County 1,412 km2


As in many other states, the area of ​​today’s Arkansas was once settled by the Indians. Mainly the tribes of the burbot, Cardo and Sage Indians lived here. It was not until 1541 that European settlers discovered the region for themselves. One of the first was the Spaniard Hernando de Soto. He was followed in 1673 and 1682 by the two French Louis Joliet and Robert Cavaliere de La Saller. They also founded the first French settlement at Arkansas Post in 1686 and belonged to the French colony of Louisiana. Around 1762 France gave the region to Spain, which was returned to the French in 1800. In 1803, Arkansas came into possession of the United States of America through the Louisiana land purchase and was declared the 25th state on June 15, 1836.

Around 1830 the state experienced a real economic boom. This was increased even further by the intensive expansion of the transport infrastructure. A few years later there was an economic crisis due to the high financial deficit, which in 1840 drove Arkansas into state bankruptcy. The Civil War resulted in Arkansas separating from the Union on May 6, 1861. Arkansas residents sided with the Confederation in the queue, with the Union occupying the capital, Little Rock, around 1863 and staying there until the end of the war in 1865. At the end of the war, Arkansas returned to the United States as a state.

In the 20th century, there were frequent clashes between white and black citizens in Arkansas. Five whites and between 100 and 200 blacks were killed in the summer of 1919. The same goes for the years 1957 and 1958. The trigger here were nine young African-Americans who demanded their basic right to be allowed to go to high school in Little Rock. In addition, Arkansas was again faced with Supreme Court rulings. In 1967 the state had to change the law prohibiting mixed marriage. In 1968, the court overturned a law making teaching evolutionary teaching illegal.

Bill Clinton is from Arkansas

Arkansas doesn’t just have an eventful history to offer. A man comes from this region who is now known all over the world far beyond the borders of the USA. Bill Clinton was born in that state in August 1946 in the city of Hope. In 1978, at the age of 32, he was appointed the youngest governor of Arkansas, which earned him the office of President of the United States in 1992. He was also the first president to come from Arkansas.