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Arkansas State History

People have been living on the land we know now as Arkansas for thousands of years. This knowledge comes from evidence left in mounds and bluffs, including pottery and stone implements; the ancestors of the Indians were first to inhabit the region. The abundant wildlife and fertile soil made the area a wonderful home for these people, who gradually developed from primitive hunter-gatherers living in caves to much more sophisticated farmers living in large permanent villages. As the eastern lands were settled, more Indians moved to sparsely inhabited Arkansas. The Indians who lived here included the Folsom people, Bluff Dwellers, Mound Builders, Caddos, Quapaws, Osage, Choctaw and Cherokee.

By 1836, the Arkansas Territory had the 60,000 residents required to become a state, and after writing an acceptable constitution, was declared the 25th state in the United States. The new state enjoyed a thirty year period of prosperity, and by 1860 had a population of 435,000, 25 percent of whom were slaves. The majority of the residents were planters who lived in the rich bottomlands of the east and southeastern portion of the state and farmers who lived in the central and northern hills. A much smaller number of residents were lawyers, doctors, merchants, missionaries and teachers.

The 20th century has seen even more change in Arkansas. Airplanes, radios, talking movies, and eventually television has enhanced our life-style. Automobiles grew in popularity, and in 1921, the first auto, gas, and oil taxes were levied to finance construction of paved roads and highways. The discovery of oil and natural gas reserves in the state provided cheap and plentiful energy for years. The growing use of farm and machinery led to the consolidation of many family-run farms into larger farming corporations.

Arkansans learned in 1904 that rice could successfully be grown here, and it is now one of our most profitable crops. The livestock and dairy industries have also gained prominence in the last 90 years. A post World War II drive to industrialize the state was successful in effecting a more favorable balance of industrial and agricultural production. Firms in Arkansas now manufacture a wide range of items, including aluminum products, aircraft components, communications equipment, cosmetics, clothing, and pulp and paper products. In 500 years, Arkansas has grown from vast wilderness to a thriving state with a population of millions. Advancements in farming, lumbering, manufacturing, tourism and government have gained Arkansas a viable place in the international market.

Tourism is a very important to the Arkansas economy; the official state nickname "The Natural State" was originally created for state tourism advertising in the 1970s, and is still used to this day. The state maintains 52 state parks and the National Park Service maintains seven properties in Arkansas, including the nation's first National Park, Hot Springs National Park. The completion of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock has drawn many visitors to the city and revitalized the nearby River Market District. Many cities also hold festivals which draw tourists to the culture of Arkansas such as King Biscuit Blues Festival, Ozark Folk Festival, Toad Suck Daze, and Tontitown Grape Festival.

Historical Arkansas Figures

  • Maya Angelou 1928-Present: African-American poet, actress, and singer who was raised in Stamps. She was a National Book Award nominee for her autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), a Pulitzer Prize nominee for Just Give Me a Drink of Water Fore I Diiie (1972) and a Tony Award winner for her performance in "Look Away." She was the second poet in the country to be selected to present an inauguration poem at President Clinton's inauguration in 1993.
  • Paul "Bear" Bryant 1913-83: Born in Moro Bottom and raised in Fordyce, Bryant picked up his nickname when, as a youth, he wrestled a bear at the Fordyce Theater. He was the head coach of the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide from 1958-1983 and became the winningest college football coach with 323 victories and six national championships. Five weeks after retiring as head coach, he died of a heart attack.
  • William Jefferson Clinton 1946-Present: 42nd President of the United States, Clinton was born in Hope and had his boyhood home in Hot Springs. He served as the state's attorney general (1976-78) and governor, (1978-80, 1982-93). He emphasized education reform and economic development during his tenure as Arkansas's Governor.
  • General Douglas MacArthur 1880 -1964: He was born in the Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal while his father was its commandant. He rose to become a Five-star U.S. Army general and Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in the Pacific during World War II. He accepted the Japanese surrender in 1945. His accomplishments include: first in class at West Point; Superintendent of West Point; Army Chief of Staff; U.S. Far East Commander; Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers; and first UN Commander. The building where the general was born, the Officer's Quarters, still stands and is now used to house the Arkansas Museum of Science and History. The surrounding park in named MacArthur Park.
  • E. Fay Jones 1921-Present: Pine Bluff and raised in El Dorado, this University of Arkansas architecture professor designed artisan-built houses that incorporated organic design and native materials. He was designated by the American Institute of Architects in 1989 as one of the world's greatest contemporary architects. His Arkansas projects include Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs, The Faubus House in Huntsville, and the Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista. He was awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture for 1980-81 and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal by President Bush in 1991.

Drug Rehab and Treatment Facts Arkansas

  • In 2008, 71.7% of those in addiction treatment located in State were male.
  • 28.3% of the individuals in drug addiction treatment residing in State during 2008 were female.
  • The largest age group admitted into to drug rehab during 2008 in State was between the ages of 21-25 (15.8%).
  • The second largest age group attending drug rehabilitation in State during 2008 were between the ages of 26-30 (15.2%).
  • 73.3% of the individuals in drug treatment located in State during 2008 were Caucasian.
  • Drug Facts

    A fact about alcohol and pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of the most common known causes of infant mental retardation, and is the only cause of this deformity that is preventable. Babies with classic FAS are born abnormally small and typically do not manifest normal growth as they get older. Babies with FAS may be born with small eyes, small flat cheeks, or a short or upturned nose. Moreover, the organs, especially the heart, of the babies with FAS may not develop properly.
    Driving and Drugs: The role of alcohol in traffic and other injuries is well documented, but determining the effects of other drugs, both legal and illegal, on driving is more difficult. This is true for three reasons: (1) Few drivers who are not involved in crashes volunteer to provide blood samples so their drug levels can be compared with drug levels in blood samples obtained from collision victims; (2) It is very difficult to determine how drug levels in the blood are related to the drug's actions in the brain, and it is those actions in the brain that cause impaired behavior; and (3) It can be difficult to determine how the interactions of various combinations of drugs, with or without alcohol, may contribute to impairment. One study was designed to get around the first problem. Researchers studied only drivers who had been in crashes. They divided the drivers into two groups—those who were responsible for the crash and those who were not—and studied blood samples from each. The drivers who caused crashes had higher levels of prescription drugs, such as antidepressants and tranquilizers, or over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines or cold medicines, in their blood than the other drivers. Other researchers examined the presence of drugs in blood specimens from 1,882 fatally injured drivers. Drugs, both illicit and prescription, were found in 18 percent of the fatalities. Marijuana was found in 6.7 percent, cocaine in 5.3 percent, tranquilizers in 2.9 percent, and amphetamines in 1.9 percent of these fatally injured drivers. Crash-responsibility rates increased significantly as the number of drugs in the driver increased. Many drug users used several drugs simultaneously, and these drivers had the highest collision rates.
    Amphetamines can produce severe systemic effects, including cardiac irregularities and gastric disturbances. Chronic use often results in insomnia, hyperactivity, irritability, and aggressive behavior. Addiction can result in psychosis or death from overexhaustion or cardiac arrest. Amphetamine-induced psychosis often mimics schizophrenia, with paranoia and hallucinations.
    Nazi leaders distributed millions of doses of methamphetamine in tablets called Pervitin to their infantry, sailors and airmen in World War II. It wasn't just the military that was amping up on the stuff -- Pervitin was sold to the German public beginning in 1938, and over-the-counter meth became quite popular. When supplies ran low on the war front, soldiers would write to their families requesting shipments of speed. In one four-month period in 1940, the German military was fed more than 35 million speed tablets. Though the pills were known to cause adverse health effects in some soldiers, it was also immediately realized that stimulants went a long way toward the Nazi dream of creating supersoldiers. As the war neared its conclusion, a request was sent from high command for a drug that would boost morale and fighting ability, and Germany's scientists responded with a pill called D-IX that contained equal parts cocaine and painkiller (5 mg of each), as well as Pervitin (3 mg). The pill was put into a testing stage, but the war ended before it reached the general military population.