History of Arkansas

Caddo People and a Grass house

Names of the Arkansas Indian Tribes
Arkansas is a state in the a state in south central United States. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Arkansas. The names of the Arkansas tribes included the Caddo, Quapaw, Tunica - Biloxi and Cherokee Indians.

The Cherokee Indians were one of the "Five Civilized Tribes", because they had assimilated cultural and customs of the white settlers and colonists.

Fast Facts about the History of Arkansas Indians
The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Arkansas resulted in the adoption of the Southeast culture.

  • Name of State: Arkansas
  • Meaning of State name: French interpretation of the Sioux word "acansa," meaning "downstream place."
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Arkansas: Eastern delta and prairie, southern lowland forests, north-western highlands including the Ozark plateau
  • Culture adopted by Arkansas Indians: Southeast Cultural Group
  • Languages: Muskogean
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunter gatherers and hunter farmers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Asi Wattle and Daub houses, Grass Houses

History Timeline of the Arkansas Indians

  • 10,000 BC: The first indigenous people were of the Paleo-Indian culture who lived in caves or were Nomadic Hunters
  • 10,000 BC: The Ice Age - The Clovis people populated the area of Arizona
  • 7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools
  • 2500 BC: Gulf Formational Period of the Southeast culture group with development of ceramics and pottery
  • 1000 AD: Woodland period with permanent houses and farming
  • 1300: Mississippian culture period of Mound builders
  • 1541: Hernando de Soto of Spain explores Arkansas
  • 1673: Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette explore Arkansas River. They were warned of hostile tribes farther south by the Quapaw Indians and ended their explorations
  • 1682: Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claims Arkansas in the name of the French King Louis XIV.
  • 1762: France cedes the Louisiana Territory, including Arkansas, to Spain.
  • 1763: Treaty of Paris
  • 1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.
  • 1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence
  • 1800: Arkansas is taken back from the Spanish by the French as part of the Treaty of San Ildefonso
  • 1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land
  • 1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence
  • 1818: The Quapaw tribe cede their lands between the Red and Arkansas rivers
  • 1819: Arkansas is made a territory
  • 1830: Indian Removal Act
  • 1832: 1832-1839: Removal of the Cherokee Indians, one of the "Five Civilized Tribes", to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears
  • 1832: Department of Indian Affairs established
  • 1860: Kiowa and Comanche expedition, Indian Territory. To remove the Kiowa and Comanche from the area of the Arkansas River.
  • 1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.
  • 1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers
  • 1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy
  • 1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers
  • 1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

History of Arkansas Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Arkansas had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Arkansas Indians.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

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