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10 Arkansas Facts You Might Not Know

Last Reviewed and Updated on July 29, 2022

Arkansas is a state in the United States with diverse geography and history. From the many natural wonders to the rich history, there is a lot one can learn about this state. Read through these interesting facts about Arkansas, and get to know this state a little bit better.

1. Arkansas is pronounced differently than Kansas

Both names are, for the most part, spelled the same way, but the pronunciation is completely different. Arkansas is pronounced as AR-kən-saw, with a silent s at the end, while Kansas is pronounced as ˈkænzəs. The difference in pronunciation comes from the different nations that settled in the territories. Settlers of Arkansas were French, and settlers of Kansas were English. Both names are different pronunciations of the same root word – akansa.

2. There are diamonds in Arkansas, and you can go digging for them

What has to be one of the most interesting facts about Arkansas is that you can go and try your luck with finding a diamond. Crater of Diamonds State Park features a plowed field which is the world’s only diamond-bearing site accessible to the public. Quite a few diamonds, over 600 per year, are found by the visitors of the park, and you can keep whatever you find regardless of the value.

Also read: facts about carbon to learn more about the element and its allotrope, the diamond.

3. First ever Walmart was opened in Arkansas

One of the world’s largest retailers started its story in Rogers, Arkansas. On July 2, 1962 Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store ever.

4. Arkansas was bought from Napoleon Bonaparte’s France

In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte sold French Louisiana, then an administrative district of New France, to the United States. French Louisiana was a vast territory with many settlements that are now the states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

This transaction is now known as the Louisiana Purchase.

5. The first female U.S. senator was elected in Arkansas

It took well over 100 years before the first female had a place in the Senate, and the first woman to be elected into the Senate was Hattie Caraway, representing Arkansas.

While she was the first woman to win the election, she wasn’t the first to ever serve in the Senate. Rebecca Latimer Felton from Georgia was the first, but she was appointed and served for only one day.

6. It is nicknamed The Natural State, but this wasn’t always its nickname

Arkansas had many nicknames before the current “The Natural State.” Its first nicknames were the “Bear State,” for its population of bears, and the “Toothpick State” because of the large belt knives men were carrying around. “Rackensack” was another nickname for this state.

In 1923, Arkansas git its first official state nickname, the “Wonder State.” This nickname didn’t really stick, and in 1953 the nickname was changed to “The Land of Opportunity.”

In the 1980s, the nickname changed yet again, this time to “the natural state.” One of the coolest Arkansas facts as not many states have such rich nickname history.

7. The Little Rock nine were enrolled in a school in Arkansas

The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American students. They were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, a previously all-white school, but were initially prevented from entering the school by the governor of Arkansas.

At that time, the segregation schools were already unconstitutional (although this became true only a few years prior), and the governor called in the Arkansas National Guard to “preserve the peace” – they were ordered to prevent these students from entering the school.

This event drew national attention to the civil rights movement.

8. Arkansas was one of the slave states

Before 1865, a slave state was a state where slavery and the slave trade were legal.

9. Mount Ida is the quartz capital of the US, if not the world

Mount Ida is a city as well as a county seat of Montgomery county in Arkansas. Its quartz deposits are known worldwide.

10. Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas

One of the best-selling music artists of all time was born in Arkansas.

Some of the other famous people from Arkansas are; Bill Clinton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Scott Pippen.

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