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Arkansas

farm mississippi region central

Arkansas, state in the south-central United States; bordered by Tennessee and Mississippi (east), Louisiana (south), Texas and Oklahoma (west), and Missouri (north).

Land and climate

Arkansas' major rivers include the Arkansas River, which bisects the state, and the Ouachita. The Ozark Plateau, or Mountains, in the northwest and Ouachita Mountains in the west-central part of the state make up the highland region, an area of rugged hills and valleys. Between these mountains lies the Arkansas Valley, which contains Magazine Mountain. Along the Mississippi River covering the eastern third of the state is vast alluvial plain. Hot Springs National Park is a famous resort. Arkansas has a mild, rainy climate. Principal cities are Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Pine Bluff.

Economy

The most important economic activity in Arkansas, manufacturing, includes processed foods, electrical equipment, and paper and wood products. Soybeans, rice, and cotton are the principal cash crops of the state. About a third of the nation's rice is grown in Arkansas. Livestock and poultry provide the largest part of the farm income. The state's leading mineral products are natural gas, oil, and bauxite. The only active diamond field in America is at Murfreesburo.

Government

Arkansas is governed by the constitution of 1874, which provides for 35 senators serving 4-year terms and 100 representatives serving 2-year terms. The governor is elected for a 2-year term. Arkansas sends 2 senators and 4 representatives to the U.S. Congress.

History

Hernando de Soto, the first European to explore Arkansas, led an expedition into the region in 1541. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle claimed the entire Mississippi Valley for France during his voyage down the river in 1682. Henri deTonti established the first permanent white settlement in the region, Arkansas Post, in 1686. The area was acquired by the United States as a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Arkansas Territory was organized in 1819. In 1861 Arkansas joined the Confederacy. A group of Arkansans formed a union government 3 years later, giving the state 2 governments. Arkansas was readmitted to the Union in 1868. Manufacturing grew after World War II (1939–45) until the income derived from it passed the state's farm income in the early 1960s. In 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce a court order to integrate Central High School in Little Rock. Today, while Arkansas faces many problems, including an unstable farm economy, it continues to attract new residents.

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