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In the middle of the 1500s several European explorers came to the area that is now Arkansas. One of them was an explorer named Hernando de Soto from Spain. However, the first permanent settlement in the area, called Arkansas Post, was not established until 1686. It was founded by Henri de Tonti of France. The United States gained control of the area as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
From 1812 until 1819 Arkansas was part of Missouri Territory. Then it became its own territory, largely as a result as a large group of settlers coming to the area. Soon, the cotton industry spread across the region. In 1861 Arkansas joined the Confederate side of the Civil War. However, Union troops took over the northern portion of the state in 1863. See also Arkansas History Page for more Details
The State of Arkansas is bordered by Louisiana (south), Mississippi (southeast), Missouri (north), Oklahoma (west), Tennessee (northeast) and Texas (southwest). The largest cities (2010) are Little Rock, 193,524; Fort Smith, 86,209; Fayetteville, 73,580; Springdale, 69,797; Jonesboro, 67,263; North Little Rock, 62304; Conway, 58,908; Rogers, 55,964; Pine Bluff, 49,083; Bentonville, 35,301
The State of Arkansas name is dirived from the Quapaw (Sioux) word "acansa," which means "downstream place" or "south wind." The Nickname is "The Natural State". and the State Motto is "Regnat populus" - The people rule.