History of Arkansas

It Started Here

Arkansas was initially part of the Louisiana Territory, which was acquired by the United States from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Louisiana Territory was a vast area that included what is now Arkansas, as well as other parts of the central United States.

In 1812, the portion of the Louisiana Territory that is now Arkansas was organized as the Territory of Missouri, with St. Louis as its capital. However, in 1819, as part of the Missouri Compromise, the territory was split into the Territory of Arkansas and the Territory of Missouri, with Arkansas serving as a separate federal territory.

The Native American nations that lived in Arkansas prior to the westward movement of peoples from the East were the Quapaw, Caddo, and Osage Nations. While moving westward, the Five Civilized Tribes inhabited Arkansas during its territorial period.

The 1864 Constitution reflects few changes from the 1836 document. The new constitution’s provisions varied from previous laws by calling for the popular election of the secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, and judges. New regulations abolished slavery, but failed to define the rights of former slaves.

Counties in Arkansas as of 1850

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