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Prehistory: First Inhabitants
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Arkansas Early History (Prehistory)
First Early Inhabitants of Arkansas
Early history examines the archaeological record that tells the story of the first inhabitants of Arkansas. Learn about the prehistory and culture of the first early inhabitants, and what lessons it might teach us about the early history of Arkansas.
Arkansas First Early Inhabitants Timeline
Early History of Native Americans in Arkansas
The Indigenous People of Arkansas
Geographically located north of Louisiana and flanked on the east by the Mississippi River's west bank, the development of the state of Arkansas spanned three centuries. Long before frontiersmen from the newly formed United States crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains and attempted settlement along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, Spanish and French explorers came upon the native peoples living in what is now Arkansas. Archaeologists have found evidence that people were living in the area of the Mississippi River as early as 9500 BC, but native populations began to grow between 5000 and 4000 BC.
From evidence left in mounds and bluffs, including pottery and stone implements, we know that people have been living in the region that is now Arkansas for thousands of years. The ancestors of the Indians were first to inhabit the region. The abundant wildlife and fertile soil made the area a wonderful home for these people, who gradually developed from primitive hunter-gatherers living in caves to much more sophisticated farmers living in large permanent villages.
Tens of thousands of people were living in the area now known as Arkansas when the first Europeans arrived in the late sixteenth century.
As the eastern lands were settled, more Indians moved to sparsely inhabited Arkansas. The Indians who lived here included the Folsom people, Bluff Dwellers, Mound Builders, Caddos, Quapaws, Osage, Choctaw and Cherokee
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