80 Interesting Facts About Arkansas

Last updated on July 7th, 2023

50. Newspapers are often at war with each other as they fight for dominance in a specific area. Fayetteville was the site of one such fight in 1876 as two neighboring newspaper editors battled it out. The loser was forced to move.

51. Award-winning novelist John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1955. He has sold 225 million books to-date, including The Firm and A Time to Kill.

52. If weird laws fascinate you this next one will shock you! Pre-1932 in Little Rock, Arkansas, it was illegal to flirt in public. If you were caught, you faced a 30-day jail stint.

53. Arkansas imports a lot of coal from Wyoming and thus uses it for producing energy to meet the demand of its inhabitants. The state also generates its own nuclear and hydroelectric power for the purpose.

Beautiful night landscape with Milky Way and meteorites. Arkansas facts
Beautiful night landscape with Milky Way and meteorites. Photo © Wirestock

54. Meteorites (the oldest known objects on the planet) weighing a couple of pounds or more fall within Arkansas about every year or two.

55. In 1957, for the first time in the history of the state, nine African Americans were inducted into Little Rock Central High School. The school previously allowed only white students to attend. This event marked an important milestone in the nation’s civil rights movement.

56. Despite the immense resources, Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the union. However, it is also one of the most generous states.

57. Did you know that from 1874 to 1967, every Arkansas governor was a member of the Democratic Party?

58. Did you know that Arkansas was ranked number 8th on the list of the states with most underprivileged children?

59. The website of Arkansas Space Observatory is one of the world’s most visited space resources today. The observatory began in 1971 and it was established by P. Clay Sherrod and his brother, Brian Sherrod. P. Clay.

60. The first Arkansas State Highway Commission was appointed in 1913.

Hot Springs National Park Sign, Arkansas, United States.
Photo © Kathryn Sidenstricker

61. The land of the Hot Springs National Park was set aside by the federal government for its use as an area for recreation. This was the first time this was done (way before the concept of a national park existed). Opened in 1807 is the oldest park maintained by the National Park Service.

62. Did you know that Little Rock (the state’s capital) derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called the “Little Rock”.

63. Symbolizing the becoming of Arkansas as the 25th state of the union, Arkansas state flag has 25 stars.

64. The state changed its nickname from “Land of Opportunity” to “The Natural State” in 1995. This was done to promote tourism in the state.”

65. Did you know that Arkansas was part of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase?

66. Arkansas was nicknamed “The Natural State” because it is famous for its natural scenic beauty, clear lakes and streams, and abundant wildlife.

Bromine icon.
Periodic table element bromine icon.

67. Arkansas is one of the world’s largest producers of bromine, which is mainly used as a flame retardant. According to the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, the Arkansas bromine industry extracts more than 40 million cubic meters of brine a year from the so-called Smackover Formation.

68. McClellan-Ker Arkansas River Navigation System (approximately 440 miles long) links Oklahoma and Arkansas to the Mississippi River. The project was completed in 1971. The system also serves as a substantial source of hydroelectric power, thanks to the seventeen dams and locks that have been built along the waterway.

69. Arkansas sees long, hot summers and mild winters.

70. At 1,460 miles long, the Arkansas River is the longest tributary in the Mississippi-Missouri River system.

71. The eastern border of Arkansas is marked by Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and the Mississippi River.

72. The state has had several different nicknames in the past including: “The Wonder State”, “The Bear State”, and “The Toothpick State”.

A Northern Mockingbird is perched on a bare branch with an overcast sky.
A Northern Mockingbird is perched on a bare branch with an overcast sky.

73. The Mockingbird, the state bird of Arkansas, is also the state bird of other states including Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

74. Arkansas has over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers.

75. Arkansas Post was the first territorial capital of Arkansas Territory from 1819 until 1821 when Little Rock was made the capital of the state.

76. The University of Arkansas was founded in 1871. The University had a gathering of eight students and three faculty members during the first year. Today, more than 145 years later, the University is imparting education to students from 120 countries. Interestingly, Bill and Hillary Clinton began their careers by teaching law at the University of Arkansas.

77. Arkansas became a territory on March 2, 1819, out of the territory of Missouri after Missouri petitioned for statehood. The territory existed until June 15, 1936, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas.

78. In 1932, Arkansas elected the first women to serve a full term as a United States Senator. Her name was Hattie Caraway. She served for 14 years in the U.S. Senate.

79. Mammoth Spring, with nine million gallons of water flowing hourly, is one of the world’s largest springs.

80. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, the highest temperature ever recorded happened on Aug. 10, 1936, with a whopping 120 degrees in Ozark.

About the Flag of Arkansas

flag of Arkansas. Arkansas fact file
The state flag of Arkansas.

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of Arkansas features a white diamond with a thick blue border on a red field — a nod to the state’s productive diamond mining industry. Within the blue boundary are 25 white stars because Arkansas is the 25th state admitted into the Union.

Four more blue stars are inside the white diamond. One is above the word “ARKANSAS,” representing the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the remaining stars symbolize the three nations that ruled over the territory: France, Spain, and the US. Arkansas is the third state formed after the Louisiana Purchase, after Louisiana and Missouri.

Near the bottom of the diamond are “twin stars,” representing the twin states of Michigan and Arkansas. President Andrew Jackson signed their acts of admission on the same day: June 15, 1836. However, Michigan had to fulfill conditions that delayed its official entry to 1837.

2. Adoption

Arkansas adopted the current flag on February 26, 1913. However, the state made minor modifications in 1923, 1924, and 2011.

3. Technical Details

The flag has a proportion of 2:3. The exact colors are Old Glory Red and Old Glory Blue, as stated in the enabling law. The secretary of state can only purchase flags made in the US.

4. History

In 1911, the Federation of Women’s Clubs sent a flag proposal to the Arkansas legislature, but the latter failed to approve it. Efforts continued in the following years.

The Daughters of the American Revolution figure once again in the tale of a flag’s creation. In 1912, their Pine Bluff chapter heard of the newly commissioned battleship USS Arkansas. They wanted to present it with an official state flag, but Secretary of State Earle Hodges said there was none.

Members of DAR urged him to hold a design contest for its immediate creation. A school teacher and poet, Willie Kavanaugh Hocker, sent the winning proposal. She is the daughter of a farmer from Kentucky. Her family moved to Arkansas when she was around eight years old.

Hocker’s original design had no state name, with only a row of three stars in the middle. It was the legislative committee that asked for this feature. She agreed to make the change, placing “ARKANSAS” at the center, one star on top, and two underneath. The first flag became official in 1913.

In 2018, the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council donated $20,000 to restore the original 1913 flag and a 1923 version.

5. Flag Revisions

In 1923, the legislature added one blue star to bring the total to four. The arrangement was two stars above the name and another two below. They represented the Confederate States, France, Spain, and the US.

In 1924, they rearranged the stars such that one remained at the top while the rest were at the bottom. This placement stands today. However, the 1924 design had to wait until 1987 before confirmation into law by Governor Bill Clinton.

In 2011, Governor Mike Beebe signed another law with new details about the flag. It specified the colors to ensure uniformity. It also limited official flag purchases to US-based manufacturers.

In 2019, Rep. Charles Blake sponsored a bill to update the flag symbols. He wanted the lone blue star at the top to represent the Native American tribes instead of the Confederacy. It did not get enough votes in the committee, but Blake vowed to keep fighting.

Arkansas – Quick facts and State symbols

State AbbreviationAR
State CapitalLittle Rock
Largest CityLittle Rock
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 53,179 sq miles; Land Only: 52,068 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2023 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodJune 15, 1836
State rank by population33rd
State rank by date of formation25th
State rank by area29th
Number of Counties75
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
Bordering StatesLouisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointMount Magazine
2,753 ft (839 m)
Lowest pointOuachita River at Louisiana border
55 ft (17 m)
Mean elevation650 feet above sea level
Length 240 miles (386 km)
Width270 miles (435 km)
GovernorSarah Huckabee Sanders (R)
Lieutenant GovernorLeslie Rutledge (R)
Electoral Votes6
State MottoRegnat populus (The people rule)
State NicknameBear State
Land of Opportunity
Natural State
Wonder State
% Water2.09
Famous peopleCortez Kennedy (Pro Football player)
Arky Vaughan (Baseball player)
Nat Clifton (Basketball player)
Emma Stone (Actress)
Iris DeMent
U.S. President Born in Arkansas1. William Jefferson Clinton.
State DinosaurArkansaurus fridayi
State BirdMockingbird
State ButterflyDiana Fritillary Butterfly
State CreedArkansas Creed
State FlowerApple blossom
State Fruit & Vegetable
Vine Ripe Pink Tomato
State GemstoneDiamond
State GrainRice
State GrapeCynthiana grape
Historic cooking vesselDutch oven
State InsectHoney bee
State MammalWhite-Tailed Deer
State mineralQuartz Crystal
State NutPecan
State rockBauxite
State TreePine Tree
Longitude89° 39′ W to 94° 37′ W
Latitude33° 00′ N to 36° 30′ N
Time ZoneCentral Time Zone
Area Codes327, 479, 501, 870
Table last updatedDecember 21, 2023