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The State of Arkansas (IPA: /ˈɑɹ.kənˌsɔː/) is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Arkansas is sometimes considered a part of the Southwest, and is a part of the old southwest according to legendary stories. Arkansas shares a border with six states, with its eastern border largely defined by the Mississippi River. Its diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River. The capital and most populous city is Little Rock.
See: List of Arkansas counties, List of cities in Arkansas, List of Arkansas townships, List of Arkansas native plants.
Arkansas is the first state in the U.S. where diamonds were found naturally (near Murfreesboro, Arkansas).
The eastern border of most of Arkansas is the Mississippi River, except in Clay and Greene counties where the St. Francis River forms the western boundary of the Missouri Bootheel. Arkansas shares its southern border with Louisiana, its northern border with Missouri, its eastern border with Tennessee and Mississippi, and its western border with Texas and Oklahoma.
Arkansas is a land of mountains and valleys, thick forests and fertile plains. Northwest Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau including the Boston Mountains, to the south are the Ouachita Mountains and these regions are divided by the Arkansas River; the southern and eastern parts of Arkansas are called the Lowlands.
The so-called Lowlands are better known as the Delta and the Grand Prairie. The land along the Mississippi River is referred to as the "Delta" of Arkansas. It gets this name from the formation of its rich alluvial soils formed from the flooding of the mighty Mississippi. The Grand Prairie is slightly away from the Mississippi River in the southeast portion of the state and consists of a more undulating landscape. Both are fertile agricultural areas and home to much of the crop agriculture in the state.
The Delta region is bisected by an unusual geological formation known as Crowley's Ridge. A narrow band of rolling hills, Crowley's Ridge rises from 250 to 500 feet above the surrounding alluvial plain.
Arkansas is home to many caves, such as Blanchard Springs Caverns.
Arkansas is home to many areas protected by the National Park System. These include:
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail also runs through Arkansas.
Arkansas Post National Memorial at Gillett
Buffalo National River
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Hot Springs National Park
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Pea Ridge National Military Park Geography
Arkansas generally has a humid subtropical climate, which borders on humid continental in some northern highland areas. While not bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas is still close enough to this warm, large body of water for it to be the main weather influence in the state. Generally, Arkansas has very hot, humid summers and mild, slightly drier winters. In Little Rock, the daily high temperatures average around 90 °F (32 °C) in the summer and close to 50 °F (10 °C) in winter. Annual precipitation throughout the state averages between 40 and 50 inches (1,000 to 1,250 mm); getting gradually wetter as you go from west to east. Snowfall is not uncommon, but certainly not excessive in most years as the average snowfall is around 5 inches (13 cm).
Despite its subtropical climate, Arkansas is known for occasional extreme weather. Between both the Great Plains and the Gulf States, Arkansas receives around 60 days of thunderstorms. As a part of Tornado Alley, tornadoes are not an uncommon occurrence in Arkansas, and a few of the most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history have struck the state. While being sufficiently away from the coast to be safe from a direct hit from a hurricane, Arkansas can often get the remnants of a tropical system which dumps tremendous amounts of rain in a short time and often spawns smaller tornadoes.
See main article History of Arkansas.
The first European to reach Arkansas was the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto at the end of the 16th century. Arkansas is one of several U.S. states formed from the territory purchased from Napoleon Bonaparte in the Louisiana Purchase. The early Spanish or French explorers of the state gave it its name, which is probably a phonetic spelling for the Illinois word for the Quapaw people, who lived downriver from them When the fighting began a stream of volunteers from Arkansas and the eastern states flowed through the town toward the Texas battle fields.
When the Mexican-American War began in 1846, Washington became a redezvous for volunteer troops. Governor Thomas S. Drew issued a proclamation calling on the state to furnish one regiment of calvary and one battalion of infrantry to join the United States Army. Ten companies of men assembled here where they were formed into the first Regiment of Arkansas Calvalry.
Arkansas refused to join the Confederate States of America until after United States President Abraham Lincoln called for troops to respond to the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, by Confederate forces. The State of Arkansas seceded from the Union on 1861-05-06. While not often cited in history, the state was the scene of numerous small-scale battles during the American Civil War. Arkansans of note during the Civil War include Confederate Major General Patrick Cleburne. Considered by many to be one of the most brilliant Confederate division commanders of the war, Cleburne is often referred to as The Stonewall of the West. Also of note is Major General Thomas C. Hindman. A former United States Representative, Hindman commanded Confederate forces at the Battle of Cane Hill and Battle of Prairie Grove.
Under the Military Reconstruction Act, Congress readmitted Arkansas in June 1868.
In 1874, the Brooks-Baxter War shook Little Rock and the state governorship which was finally settled when Grant ordered that Joseph Brooks disperse his militant supporters.
In 1881, the Arkansas state legislature enacted a bill that adopted an official pronunciation, to combat a controversy then raging around the proper pronunciation of the state's name. (See Law and Government below).
After the case Brown v. Topeka Board of Education in 1957, the Little Rock Nine incident again brought Arkansas to national attention when the Federal government was forced to again interfere in the Arkansan capital. Orval Faubus, governor at the time, sent the Arkansas National Guard to aid segregationists in preventing nine African-American students from enrolling at Little Rock's Central High School. President Eisenhower sent troops to escort the African-American students on September 25, 1957. This incident eventually led to the closing of Little Rock high schools for the rest of the school year. The Little Rock high schools were completely integrated by the fall of 1959.
Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was born in Hope, Arkansas. Before his presidency, Clinton served nearly twelve years as the 50th and 52nd Governor of Arkansas.
Arkansas, like most other Southern states, is part of the Bible Belt and is overwhelmingly Protestant. The religious affiliations of the people are as follows:
Christian – 86%
- Protestant – 78%
- Baptist – 39%
Methodist – 9%
Pentecostal – 6%
Church of Christ – 6%
Assemblies of God – 3%
Other Protestant – 15%
Roman Catholic – 7%
Orthodox Christian – <1%
Other Christian – <1%
Other Religions – <1%
Non-Religious – 14% Religion
The state's gross domestic product for 2005 was $87 billon. Its per capita personal median income (in current dollars) for 2006 was $35,295, according to the U.S. Census Bureau . The state's agriculture outputs are poultry and eggs, soybeans, sorghum, cattle, cotton, rice, hogs, and milk. Its industrial outputs are food processing, electric equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery, paper products, bromine, and vanadium.
In recent years, automobile parts manufacturers have opened factories in eastern Arkansas to support auto plants in other states. Additionally, the city of Conway is the site of a school bus factory.
Tourism is also very important to the Arkansas economy; the official state nickname "The Natural State" was originally created (as "Arkansas Is A Natural") for state tourism advertising in the 1970s, and is still regularly used to this day.
According to Forbes.com or http://www.forbes.com/2007/07/10/washington-virginia-utah-biz-cz_kb_0711bizstates-table.html
Arkansas currently ranks 21st for The Best States for Business, 9th for Business Cost, 40th for Labor, 22nd for Regulatory Environment, 17th for Economic Climate, 9th for Growth Prospects, 34th in Gross Domestic Product, and positive economic change of 3.8% or ranked 22nd.
Arkansas imposes a state income tax with six brackets, ranging from 1.0% to 7.0%. The first $9,000 of military pay of enlisted personnel is exempt from Arkansas tax; officers do not have to pay state income tax on the first $6,000 of their military pay. Retirees pay no tax on Social Security, or on the first $6,000 in gain on their pensions (in addition to recovery of cost basis). Residents of Texarkana, Arkansas are exempt from Arkansas income tax; wages and business income earned there by residents of Texarkana, Texas are also exempt. Arkansas's gross receipts (sales) tax and compensating (use) tax rate is currently 6%. The state has also mandated that various services be subject to sales tax collection. They include wrecker and towing services; dry cleaning and laundry; body piercing, tattooing and electrolysis; pest control; security and alarm monitoring; self-storage facilities; boat storage and docking; and pet grooming and kennel services.
In addition to the state sales tax, there are more than 300 local taxes in Arkansas. Cities and counties have the authority to enact additional local sales and use taxes if they are passed by the voters in their area. These local taxes have a ceiling or cap; they cannot exceed $25 for each 1% of tax assessed. These additional taxes are collected by the state, which distributes the money back to the local jurisdictions monthly. Low-income taxpayers with a total annual household income of less than $12,000 are permitted a sales tax exemption for electricity usage.
Sales of alcoholic beverages account for added taxes. A 10% supplemental mixed drink tax is imposed on the sale of alcoholic beverages (excluding beer) at restaurants. A 4% tax is due on the sale of all mixed drinks (except beer and wine) sold for "on-premises" consumption. And a 3% tax is due on beer sold for off-premises consumption.
Property taxes are assessed on real and personal property; only 20% of the value is used as the tax base.
- Baptist – 39%