The state of Arkansas, also known as The Natural State, is located within the southern region of the United States. It has a large variety with its geography, ranging from the mountains in the northern side of the state all the way down to the flat, rolling farmlands in the southern end of the state. The state is crisscrossed with rivers and lakes which include the Mississippi River on the state's eastern border. The fertile soil of the state has given rise to many forests and also make the farmlands quite productive, which in turn makes a major contribution to the state's economy.
Arkansas has a little below three million people residing in the state. Of that number, over three-fourths are white with most of the remaining being black or African American. Hispanics make up the third largest group at around 6% of the total population. The five largest ancestry groups, in order, are African America, Irish, German, American, and English. Arkansas is part of the region known as the Bible Belt and, consequently, over 80% of the population identifies themselves as Christian, with over three-fourths being Protestant. Ironically, non-religious people make up the second largest religious group in Arkansas about 15% of the total population. All others, including Judaism and Islam, make up less than 1% of the population each.
In a brief history, Arkansas was granted statehood as the 25th state of the Union in 1836. Arkansas aided Texas in achieving independence from Mexico by sending troops and supplies. It also participated in the Mexican-American War by providing a rendezvous point at Washington as well as forming the first Regiment of Arkansas Calvary. The state was also involved in the Civil War and was the location of several small battles, but it initially refused to join secede and join the Confederacy until May 6, 1861, which was after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. Arkansas was readmitted to the Union during the Reconstruction and, afterwards, as a former slave state, was heavily involved in the later Freedom Rights Movement whether it wanted to be or not. Some interesting facts about Arkansas include the following: Former President Bill Clinton was born in Arkansas; The pronunciation of Arkansas was disputed until an act of state legislature in 1881 made the one people use today official. The rejected alternative would have been pronounced like are Kansas; Southern Arkansas University has a unique mascot name: the Muleriders.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan
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