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Arkansas is a state in the South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegiha Siouan language, and referred to their relatives, the Quapaw people. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and 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.
Arkansas is the 29th largest by area and the 33rd most populous U.S. state. The capital and most populous city is Little Rock, in the central part of the state, a hub for transportation, business, culture, and government. The northwestern corner of the state, including the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area and Fort Smith metropolitan area, is a population, education, and economic center. The largest city in the state's eastern part is Jonesboro. The largest city in the state's southeastern part is Pine Bluff.
Previously part of French Louisiana and the Louisiana Purchase, the Territory of Arkansas was admitted to the Union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836. Much of the Delta had been developed for cotton plantations, and landowners there largely depended on enslaved African Americans' labor. In 1861, Arkansas seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. On returning to the Union in 1868, Arkansas continued to suffer economically, due to its overreliance on the large-scale plantation economy. Cotton remained the leading commodity crop, and the cotton market declined. Because farmers and businessmen did not diversify and there was little industrial investment, the state fell behind in economic opportunity. In the late 19th century, the state instituted various Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise and segregate the African-American population. During the civil rights movement of the 1950s, Arkansas and particularly Little Rock were major battlegrounds for efforts to integrate schools.
White interests dominated Arkansas's politics, with disfranchisement of African Americans and refusal to reapportion the legislature. Only after the civil rights movement and federal intervention were more African Americans able to vote. The Supreme Court overturned rural domination in the South and other states that had refused to reapportion their state legislatures or retained rules based on geographic districts. In the landmark ruling of one man, one vote, it held that states had to organize their legislatures by districts that held approximately equal populations, and that these had to be redefined as necessary after each decade's census.
After World War II, Arkansas began to diversify its economy and see prosperity. During the 1960s, the state became the base of the Walmart corporation, the world's largest retailer, headquartered in Bentonville. In the 21st century, its economy is based on service industries, aircraft, poultry, steel, and tourism, along with important commodity crops of cotton, soybeans and rice.
Arkansas's culture is observable in museums, theaters, novels, television shows, restaurants, and athletic venues across the state. Notable people from the state include politician and educational advocate William Fulbright; former president Bill Clinton, who also served as the 40th and 42nd governor of Arkansas; general Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander; Walmart founder and magnate Sam Walton; singer-songwriters Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Jimmy Driftwood, and Glen Campbell; actor-filmmaker Billy Bob Thornton; poet C. D. Wright; physicist William L. McMillan, a pioneer in superconductor research; poet laureate Maya Angelou; Douglas MacArthur; famous musician Al Green; actor Alan Ladd; basketball player Scottie Pippen; singer Ne-Yo; Chelsea Clinton; actress Sheryl Underwood; and author John Grisham.
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Conway is a city in the U.S. state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Although considered a suburb of Little Rock, Conway is unusual in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education; among its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".As of the 2010 census, the city proper had a total population of 58,908, making Conway the eighth-largest city in Arkansas. Central Arkansas, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, is ranked 75th largest in the United States with 734,622 people in 2016. Conway is part of the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR Combined Statistical Area, which in 2016 had a population of 905,847, and ranked the country's 60th largest CSA.
Fairfield Bay is a city in Cleburne and Van Buren counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The population was 2,338 at the 2010 census. The population in its portion in Van Buren County, which accounts for the bulk of the city limits, made the city the most populous in Van Buren County as of the 2000 census, but with a slight decline in population, lost the distinction to Clinton as of 2010. Fairfield Bay, located on the shore of Greers Ferry Lake, is home to Fairfield Bay Resort, the namesake of Wyndham Worldwide-owned Fairfield Resorts.
North Little Rock
North Little Rock is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, across the Arkansas River from Little Rock in the central part of the state. The population was 62,304 at the 2010 census. In 2019 the estimated population was 65,903, making it the seventh-most populous city in the state. North Little Rock, along with Little Rock and Conway, anchors the six-county Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area (2014 population 729,135), which is further included in the Little Rock-North Little Rock Combined Statistical Area with 902,443 residents. The city's downtown is anchored in the Argenta Historic District, which draws its name from the original name of the city; the area includes Dickey-Stephens Park, the current home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team, and Simmons Bank Arena, the metropolitan area's main entertainment venue. Farther west in the city is Burns Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas.The city's population was 202,591 in 2020 according to the United States Census Bureau. As the county seat of Pulaski County, the city was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derived its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" (French: La Petite Roche) by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The six-county Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.Little Rock is a cultural, economic, government, and transportation center within Arkansas and the South. Several cultural institutions are in Little Rock, such as the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, in addition to hiking, boating, and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Little Rock's history is available through history museums, historic districts or neighborhoods like the Quapaw Quarter, and historic sites such as Little Rock Central High School. The city is the headquarters of Dillard's, Windstream Communications, Acxiom, Stephens Inc., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Heifer International, Winrock International, the Clinton Foundation, and the Rose Law Firm. Other corporations, such as Amazon, Dassault Falcon Jet, LM Wind Power, Simmons Bank, Euronet Worldwide, AT&T, and Entergy have large operations in the city. State government is a large employer, with many offices downtown. Two major Interstate highways, Interstate 30 and Interstate 40, meet in Little Rock, with the Port of Little Rock serving as a shipping hub.