1850 Arkansas

Arkansas is bounded north and northeast by Missouri; east by Mississippi river which separates it from Mississippi and Tennessee, south by Louisiana, southwest by Texas and west by Indian Territory. Its area is 52,198 square miles

Physical Aspects-- On the eastern part of the state, say a distance of 100 miles from the Mississippi the country is low and wet and much of the land, except along the borders of streams, is subject to inundation.  With the exception of some prairie, the eastern portion is covered with dense forests.  The soil here, where arable, is of the most productive kind.  In the middle of the state, the surface is uneven and broken and in the western parts it is mountainous and hilly, interspersed by timber lands, prairies and barren plains.  In some respects, Arkansas may be regarded as a barren country, although along the margins of the streams the soil is generally fertile, but remote from these it is sterile and poor.

Mountains--The chief mountains in this state are the Ozark, which lie at its northwest corner, rising to a height of some 2,000 feet.  A range of hills, called the Black mountains, runs between the Arkansas and White rivers, extending from the latter to the western border of the state   

Rivers & Streams--The principle rivers that transverse this state are the Arkansas, Washita, White and St Francis.  The Mississippi waters its almost entire boundary on the east.  Toward the source of the Washita, there are hot springs, which are much resorted to by invalids.  Their waters are pure and limpid, possessing little or no mineral properties, and though varying considerably in the range of temperature, sometimes rise nearly to the boiling point.

Climate--The climate of the easterly part, particularly on the borders of the rivers, is generally moist and unhealthy; but in the middle and westerly portions it is regarded by the settlers as salubrious.  The climate of the southerly part resembles that of Louisiana, while that at the north is similar to Missouri.

Productive Resources--The staple products are cotton, wood, lumber, peltry, wheat, oats, potatoes, tobacco, Indian corn, cattle, horses and mules.  The southern portion of the state is well adapted to the cultivation of cotton.  Its mineral productions consists of iron ore, lead, gypsum, salt and coal,

Manufactures--The manufactures of Arkansas are confined principally to supplying the immediate wants of the people.  The number of manufacturing establishments in the state in 1850 producing $500 and upward each annually was 271.

Commerce--Arkansas has no direct foreign commerce, its staples being shipped principally at New Orleans; but its river trade is considerable.

Education--There is no collegiate institution in Arkansas.  It has about 15 academies and 200 common schools.

Population-- In 1820, 14,273; in 1830, 30,388; in 1840, 97,574 and in 1850, 209,639.  Number of slaves in 1820, 1,617; in 1830, 4,576; in 1840,  19,935 and in 1850, 46,982.

Government--The legislative power is vested in a general assembly, consisting of a senate and house of representatives.  The senators are elected by the people, by districts, for the term of 4 years; the representatives, by counties, for 2 years.  The senate consists of not less than 17, nor more than 33 members.  The house of representatives of not less than 54 nor more than 100 members.  The general elections are holden every 2 years, on the 1st Monday in October, and the legislature meets biennially, on the 1st Monday in November, at Little Rock.  The executive power is vested in a governor, elected by the people once in 4 years; but he is not eligible for more than 8 years in any term of 12 years.  The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, of 3 justices, in circuit courts, in county courts and justices of the peace.  The judges of the supreme and circuit courts are chosen by the general assembly of the former for 8 year of the former 4 years.  Justices of the peace are elected by the people for 2 years.  Judges of the county courts are chosen by the justices of the peace.  Every white male citizen of the United States (excepting soldiers and seamen of the Army & Navy), a resident of the state 6 months, is entitled to vote at election.

History--Arkansas was originally a part of the province of Louisiana, and constituted a portion of that undefined region lying west of the Mississippi, which received not a tread of the white man until the present century, unless visited by De Soto, who explored the valley of the Mississippi in 1541.  In the arrangement of territories it was separated from Louisiana and attached to Missouri.  It remained in this connection till 1819, when it was erected into a district territory, under its present name.  The Rocky mountains were its western limits; but by congressional acts in 1824 and by subsequent treaties with the Cherokee Indians, its area was curtailed.  In 1836, a convention of the representatives of the people assembled at Little Rock, and adopted a state constitution; and the same year Arkansas was admitted into the Union as an independent state.

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