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Arkansas Timeline of State History
Chronological History of Arkansas
|In 500 years, Arkansas has grown from a vast wilderness to a thriving state with a population of 2.3 million. Advancements in farming, lumbering, manufacturing, tourism and government have gained Arkansas a viable place in the international market.
- 1541 -
- June 18 - Hernando de Soto of Spain was the first European to explore Arkansas.
- 1673 -
- July - French explorers Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette descend the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas River. Warned by the Quapaw (Arkansas) Indians of hostile tribes farther south they turn back.
1686 - Henri de Tonti founded Arkansas Post, the first settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley. It served as a trading post, a way-station for Mississippi River travel, and the home of a Jesuit mission for a few years.
- Mar 13 - Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, reaches the Arkansas on his way to the mouth of the Mississippi. He visits a Quapaw village and claims the land in the name of King Louis XIV.
- 1721 - A group of 1,300 half-starved colonists - whites and black slaves - abandons Arkansas Post after John Law's scheme to develop the Mississippi Valley collapses.
- 1762 - France cedes the Louisiana Territory, including Arkansas, to Spain, but French soldiers continue to man Arkansas Post.
- 1803 - The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France, which had retaken it from Spain as part of the Treaty of San Ildefonso.
- 1818 - The Quapaw cede their lands between the Red and Arkansas rivers.
- 1819 -
- March 2 - Arkansas, which has been part of Missouri Territory since 1812, is detached and made a territory. November 20: Arkansas Gazette, the first newspaper in Arkansas, published.
- October 25 - The capital moves from Arkansas Post to Little Rock.
- March 16 - The Eagle, first steamboat to ascend the Arkansas River, arrives at Little Rock.
1832-1839 - Removal of the "Five Civilized Tribes" of Indians from the Southeast through Arkansas to Indian Territory.
- May 28 - Congress establishes the boundary separating Arkansas from Indian Territory to the west.
1846 - Disillusioned by the collapse of two state-chartered banks, legislators ratify a constitutional amendment barring any banking institution from being established in the state.
1858 - Edward Payson Washburn paints The Arkansas Traveler.
- June 15 - Arkansas became the 25th state on June 15, 1836, with Little Rock as its capital.
1860 - On the eve of the Civil War, Arkansas has a population of 435,450, of whom 111,115 are black slaves and 11,481 are slave owners.
- February 12 - Signing of legislation ordering all free Negroes out of Arkansas by the end of the year.
- February - Provisional Confederate Constitution is adopted (Confederate Constitution Day). Arsenal at Little Rock, AR occupied by State Troops
- May 6 - A convention votes to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. The first of some 60,000 Arkansas residents join the confederate troops, but some 9,000 whites and more than 5,000 blacks fight on the Union side during the war.
August 2 - Skirmish at Jonesboro, AR
- Mar 7-8 - Battle of Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas. A Confederate advance north is rebuffed.
- July 25 - Skirmish at Brownsville, AR and Williamsburg, KY
- September 10 - Federal troops occupy Little Rock.
Skirmish at Benton, AR and Pleasant Hill, MO
- A unionist convention abolishes slavery in Arkansas and adopts a new constitution for the state.
- August - Ex-Confederates sweep control of the legislature and pass laws denying blacks the right to sit on juries, serve in the militia, or attend white public schools.
- March 2 - Congress passes the Reconstruction Act, which voids the government of Arkansas and nine other southern states.
1871 - Completion of a railroad between Memphis and Little Rock.
1872 - University of Arkansas opens in Fayetteville.
- March 13 - A new constitution adopted by referendum enfranchises Negroes and disenfranchises ex-Confederate soldiers. June 22. Arkansas re-admitted to the Union. November. Governor Powell Clayton declares martial law in much of the state; a mostly black militia battles the Ku Klux Klan.
1887 - Bauxite discovered southwest of Little Rock; peak output is reached by 1918, by which time almost all U.S. Bauxite is being mined in Arkansas.
1891 - Jim Crow legislation segregates railroad coaches and waiting stations.
1892 - Adoption of a constitutional amendment imposing a poll tax restricts the electorate.
1898 - The Democratic party adopts whites-only primary elections.
1899 - Bauxite mining began in 1899 and Arkansas soon led all other states in production.
- May 15 - Month-long "Brooks-Baxter War" between rival claimants to the governorship ends when President Ulysses S Grant orders the forces of the former to disperse.
- October 13 - Ratification of a new constitution restoring the franchise to all whites and guaranteeing full civil rights for blacks ends the Reconstruction era.
1909 - Lumber production is the state's leading industry.
1915 - The General Assembly of 1915 enacted a statewide game and fish law and created the Game and Fish Commission.
1920 - Over 40 percent of land under cultivation is in cotton, the state's leading crop.
- 1904 - Near Ulm, William H Fuller grows a 70 acre stand of rice, establishing one of the state's leading crops.
- 1906 -
- August 1 - Diamonds found near Murfreesboro, which becomes the site of the only diamond mine in the United States.
1927 - The Mississippi River floods one-fifth of the state.
1953 - Television station KATV in Little Rock went on the air in 1953
1955-1967 - Orval E. Faubus was the first Arkansas governor to be elected to six terms (1955-67).
1957 - President Eisenhower had to send US troops to help African Americans attend Central High School in Little Rock.
1967 - Winthrop Rockefeller became the first Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction.
- The first radio station, WOK in Pine Bluff, began broadcasting in 1921.
- January 10 - Discovery of oil near El Dorado triggers a boom; Arkansas is fourth among states in oil in 1924, but production peaks in 1925.
Source : Arkansas Secretary of State. Also, see Arkansas Department of Heritage for more information.
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