In 1819, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Arkansas became a separate territory and later on June 15, 1836, it achieved statehood as the 25th state. It was the ninth state to secede from the union and join the Confederate States of America. Today, Arkansas is the 29th largest by area and the 33rd most populous of the 50 United States.
Located in the southern region of the United States. Its neighbors are Missouri to the north, Tennessee and Mississippi to the east, Louisiana to the south, Texas to the southwest and Oklahoma to the west. The state’s diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta. The capital city, Little Rock, is positioned in the central portion of the state. The largest city in the state’s eastern part is Jonesboro. The largest city in the state’s southeastern part is Pine Bluff.
Arkansas is currently nicknamed The Natural State or The Land of Opportunity. It is also well-known by its former nickname as The Bear State. The state tree is the Pine, the state bird is the Mockingbird and the state flower is the Apple Blossom. The state motto is ‘The People Rule’ (Latin: Regnat populous).
Arkansas is served by 2,750 miles (4,430 km) of railroad track divided among twenty-six railroad companies including three Class I railroads. Freight railroads are concentrated in southeast Arkansas to serve the industries in the region. The Texas Eagle, an Amtrak passenger train, serves five stations in the state Walnut Ridge, Little Rock, Malvern, Arkadelphia, and Texarkana.
Transportation in Arkansas is overseen by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT), headquartered in Little Rock. Several main corridors pass through Little Rock, including Interstate 30 (I-30) and I-40 (the nation’s 3rd-busiest trucking corridor). In northeast Arkansas, I-55 travels north from Memphis to Missouri, with a new spur to Jonesboro (I-555). The northwest part of Arkansas is served by the segment of I-49 from Fort Smith to the beginning of the Bella Vista Bypass. This segment of I-49 currently follows mostly the same route as the former section of I-540 that extended north of I-40. The state also has the 13th largest state highway system in the nation.
There are four airports with commercial service: Clinton National Airport, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Fort Smith Regional Airport, and Texarkana Regional Airport, with dozens of smaller airports in the state.
Arkansas also benefits from the use of its rivers for commerce. The Mississippi River and Arkansas River are both major rivers. The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, allowing barge traffic up the Arkansas River to the Port of Catoosa in Tulsa, Oklahoma.