1936 3¢ Arkansas Centennial
US #782 – Issued for Arkansas’ 100th anniversary, this stamp pictures the state’s first settlement, old statehouse, and capitol.

On June 15, 1836, Arkansas was admitted as the 25th state of the Union.

American Indians had lived in Arkansas as early as 10,000 BCE. When the first European explorers arrived, they found three main tribes in the area: the Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw.

Hernando de Soto of Spain was the first European to reach the Mississippi River. He arrived in 1541, near what is now Memphis, Tennessee. He then crossed Arkansas and reached the Ozark Mountains. In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet traveled down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas River. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed the entire Mississippi River valley, which includes Arkansas, for France in 1682. He called the claim Louisiana, in honor of King Louis XIV.

1976 13¢ State Flags: Arkansas
US #1657 – The Arkansas flag features a prominent diamond because it was the only diamond-producing state at the time the flag was adopted in 1913.

In 1686, Henri de Tonti built a camp at the mouth of the Arkansas River. Arkansas’ first permanent white settlement, Arkansas Post, was founded near there. To develop that vast Louisiana territory, France gave control of the area to the Western Company. The Western Company brought several hundred colonists to Arkansas. However, the effort was largely unsuccessful, and many of the colonists left.

Spain gained ownership of France’s lands west of the Mississippi in 1763. France took the land back in 1800. Then, in 1803, the area was sold to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.

1986 22¢ Arkansas Statehood
US #2167 – Commemorating 150 years as a state, this stamp pictures Arkansas’ Old State House.

In 1812, Arkansas and the northern part of the Louisiana Territory were organized as the Missouri Territory. Congress created the Arkansas Territory in 1819. It included today’s Arkansas and most of Oklahoma. The Arkansas River Valley served as a route to the Far West, and many travelers passed through the state. Van Buren and Fort Smith became important trade centers.

2002 34¢ Greetings From America: Arkansas
US #3564 – This Greetings from America stamp shows scenes from Ozark National Forest and Hot Springs National Park.

The issue of statehood was first raised in 1831. Republicans in the territory favored statehood, while Democrats worried that the taxes to run a state government would be too high for the potential state’s small population. When they learned Michigan was applying for statehood as a free state, Arkansas politicians saw it as their chance to apply as a slave state. Both applications were rejected, but the people from each territory began drawing up state constitutions. The Arkansas politicians sent their new constitution to Washington, where it was debated over for 25 hours on the slavery issue. Eventually though, President Andrew Jackson signed the bill creating the state of Arkansas on June 15, 1836.

Arkansas had joined the Union as the national debate over the future of slavery in America was becoming more and more intense. After Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860, several slave states began to secede. As a slave state, Arkansas was torn as to what course of action it should take. In March of 1861, an Arkansas convention voted to stay within the Union, but proposed amendments to the United States’ Constitution that would further protect the institution of slavery and forbid Black people from voting or holding office in any state. However, when President Lincoln called for Union states to provide troops for the war, Arkansas refused. Then, in May of 1861, another state convention voted to secede.

2002 37¢ Greetings from America: Arkansas
US #3699 – The 37¢ Greetings from America stamp was issued to meet a rate change shortly after the first sheet was issued.

In March of 1862, Union forces won an important battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Northern troops pushed the Confederates into the southern portion of the state. On September 10, 1863, the Union army captured Little Rock, so the Confederates established a new capital at Washington, Arkansas. In 1864, a group of pro-Union Arkansans formed a government at Little Rock. This government’s constitution abolished slavery. Both governments existed until the war ended in 1865.

1982 20¢ State Birds and Flowers: Arkansas
US #1956 pictures the state bird and flower – the mockingbird and an apple blossom.

Federal troops occupied Arkansas from 1867 to 1874, and the entire state was under military authority. In 1868, the state passed a law giving African Americans the right to vote. That year, Arkansas was readmitted into the Union. Arkansas was among the most fervent states in application of racial segregation laws. To give an idea of the scope of this segregation, many courts in Arkansas supplied different Bibles for swearing in witnesses of different races.

During the late 1800s, Arkansas entered a period of continuing economic expansion. This growth was spurred by the construction of railroads, which allowed industry and agriculture to prosper. Deposits of the mineral bauxite were discovered near Little Rock in 1887, and many mines were opened. By 1900, many large sawmills and other timber-related industries had begun to flourish in Arkansas. Oil was discovered near El Dorado in 1921, and the state’s first hydroelectric dam was built in 1924.

2008 42¢ Flags of Our Nation: Arkansas
US #4278 depicts the state flag and a wood duck, a common sight on Arkansas ponds and streams.

In 1932, Hattie Caraway of Arkansas became the first woman elected to serve in the US Senate. Caraway won a special election held shortly after her husband, US Senator Thaddeus Caraway, died.

2003 Arkansas Story Card
Item #4579534 – Arkansas Story Card with two 2003 Arkansas State Quarters

Farming and mining expanded greatly in Arkansas during World War II. However, after the war, the state’s economy began to move away from agriculture toward industrialization. Many farm workers lost their jobs due to greater reliance on machinery. Although new manufacturing jobs helped to employ many of these workers, there simply weren’t enough for all those displaced from the state’s farms. As a result, many workers left the state and the population fell by over 8% despite the fact that the number of manufacturing plants more than doubled during the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, Arkansas manufacturing became more profitable than its farms for the first time, and the population began to grow again.

1968 6¢ Arkansas River Navigation
US #1358 was issued to mark the opening of the first portion of the Arkansas River to commercial navigation.

In 1970, the Arkansas River Development Program was completed. This project made the Arkansas River navigable from the Mississippi River into Oklahoma. Industrial expansion has brought the state many of the same problems faced by other states: air and water pollution, energy shortages, and housing shortages. The state has striven to improve its public education, including increased vocational education to provide the state’s industry with skilled workers. Increased tourism has also provided Arkansas with additional income and jobs.

FREE printable This Day in History album pages
Download a PDF of today’s article.
Get a binder or other supplies to create your This Day in History album.  

Discover what else happened on This Day in History.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
4.6/5 - (57 votes)
Share this Article


  1. The Republican Party didn’t exist in 1831. Do you mean the national Republicans, who later merged with other anti-Jacksonians to become the Whigs?

  2. We need a third political party in the national scene. Because of Arkansas’ interesting history, the folks in that state can make a good start!

  3. We don’t need a third party, we need a really smart Republican one and that is coming, No
    Hilliary ever again. or any Clinton, the last one should have been thrown out. We shouldn’t
    repeat any name that has been in the office before.

  4. GREAT history … and I agree with Audrey June, about “hilarity” , the most despicable American female in U.S. history. In MY opinion, Sir Jim, you obviously do not know much about how much worse she is than Jane Fonda was during the Viet Nam war, when SHE commonly touted and was responsible for even more brutal treatment of already-captured U.S. soldiers … and the more she said the more brutal the North Vietnamese treated the American captives … even her FATHER did not agree with her behavior, for goodness sake !!! … and, yes, “hillariity” was even worse … and is the ONLY U.S. female in American history, again, in MY personal opinion, to have NEVER EVER been charged with a SINGLE violation of law you and I would be in the Penitentiary for. You must be a young, and I am sure, a fine American man. I spent 7 of my 11 years in the U.S. Army in a combat engineer battalion and hope you should find out and learn MORE about how terrible and despicable “hilarity’s” greed, supreme ego, focus on achieving only HER goals and did absolutely NOTHING, again, in MY opinion, while in office !! Just one example, and there are MANY more, the ONLY thing she did as U.S. Secretary of State was to travel thru about 112 countries spending almost $4 million more in unnecessary lavish travel expenses just telling the individuals she visited that if they would contribute to her election for the U.S. presidency that she would help them after she gets into office. She collected about $8 million … and at the time, she and her bad former-president husband had no money. But after the contributions she received, she and “Bill” moved into a $4 million house and today they have more money than God! There is a LOT more about her and the pure crap she got away with than you seem to be possibly aware of.. Yes, Audrey June is 110% correct about number one on my very short list of despicable FEMALE Americans. You certainly do not have to agree with ANYTHING I have said, Sir Jim, but MY opinion is what it is because of what I have learned over the years.. All the best to you. Sincerely..

    1. I was born in 1947. I have a degree in education with an emphasis on history. Your opinion is important to yourself. Her comment with regard to a :”…really smart Republican one..” was obviously proven to be false. If trump stays out of prison, it won’t be due to his never having been charged with a crime.

    2. Good grief George! You are so wrong (as are the other’s writing these comments). First of all, where did you learn to spell – it’s Hillary. She was a great American. You guys continue to pick at her because of inaccurate information and down right lies. History will treat her as one of greatest women leaders of all-time (while wondering what you detractors were thinking). Even though she received more votes than the winner in 2016, I can’t stop wondering how great our country would be now if she had won. She was the most experienced person to have ever run for President but we got Bozo the Clown. Speaking of Bozo’s, Arkansas has one in the Governor’s office now. What are you guys thinking?

  5. Bill Clinton and Helen Gurley Brown were declared Arkansas’ most embarrassing natives/residents in a 1996 Spy magazine article rating the fifty states in order of annoyance. Arkansas was ranked sixth. Mainly because of how Tyson Foods dominates the state.

    The greatest Arkansan whoever was was Levon Helm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *