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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Arkansas

The Only Active Diamond Mine in the U.S.

Arkansas is home to the only active diamond mine in the United States, the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Visitors can search for diamonds in the park’s 37.5-acre plowed field, and if they find any, they’re theirs to keep.

Birthplace of the Wal-Mart Empire

Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. This modest beginning has since evolved into one of the world’s most influential retail giants.

Origin of the Name “Arkansas”

The state’s name is borrowed from the French interpretation of a Sioux word “acansa,” which means “downstream place.”

Interestingly, Arkansas is pronounced differently than its plural cousin, Kansas, thanks to a ruling by the state’s General Assembly in 1881.

Home to the World Championship Duck Calling Contest

Since 1936, the city of Stuttgart in Arkansas has been hosting the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. The event draws competitors from all over the U.S. and is a significant feature of the Wings Over the Prairie Festival.

Hot Springs National Park

Known for its therapeutic thermal waters, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the oldest federally protected area in the U.S., predating Yellowstone National Park by 40 years.

The Apple Blossom is the State Flower

Arkansas recognized the apple blossom as its state flower in 1901, reflecting its historic role as a major apple producer. At one point, Arkansas was one of the top apple-producing states in the country.

The Ozark National Forest Spans Over a Million Acres

The Ozark National Forest, with its unique landscapes, rolling hills, and dense woodlands, stretches across more than a million acres in northern Arkansas, offering ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting.

A Key Role in Desegregation

The Little Rock Nine is a famous group of nine African American students who, in 1957, were the first black students to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their courage played a pivotal role in challenging segregation in American schools.

Home to Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was born in Hope, Arkansas. Before his presidency, he served multiple terms as the Governor of Arkansas.

Arkansas is the Nation’s Leading Rice Producer

Over half of all rice consumed in the U.S. comes from Arkansas, making it the nation’s top rice-producing state. The state’s geography, with its flat landscapes and rich, alluvial soil, makes it ideal for rice cultivation.

From unique geology and rich cultural heritage to retail revolutions and agricultural prowess, Arkansas offers a tapestry of American history and innovation.

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