Hernando de Soto
1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto visits Arkansas in his explorations of the American southeast.
1673: French missionaries Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet explore the central United States along the Mississippi River south to the Arkansas River.
1682: Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, reaches Arkansas on his way to the mouth of the Mississippi. He visits a Quapaw village and claims the land in the name of King Louis XIV.
1763: Most of Louisiana Territory, including Arkansas becomes a Spanish possession as a result of the defeat of the French by the British in the French and Indian War. Nevertheless, French forces continue to man the Arkansas Post.
1800: French ruler Napoleon I re-acquires the Louisiana Territory from the Spanish in the Treaty of San Ildefonso.
1803: Napoleon I offers to sell New Orleans and the entire Louisiana Territory (which included Arkansas) to the U.S. Government for $15,000,000. The United States agrees and America doubles in size.
1819: The Arkansas Territory is created from the Missouri Territory.
1821: Little Rock becomes capital of the Arkansas Territory.
1832 – 1839: Tens of thousands of Indians are forcibly transported through Arkansas on their way to "reservations" in Oklahoma.
1861: Arkansas secedes from the United States and joins the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
1862: Confederate forces are defeated by Union troops at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Confederates suffer more than 4,600 casualties.
1868: Arkansas is re-admitted to the Union.
1872: The University of Arkansas is established in Fayetteville.
1906: Diamonds are discovered near Murfreesboro, which becomes the site of the nation’s only diamond mine. Today, visitors can search for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
1921: Oil is discovered near El Dorado, leading to an oil drilling boom.
1950: Sam Walton opens his first "Walton" store in Bentonville, which would later become Wal-Mart
1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends National Guard troops to Little Rock’s Central High School to protect newly integrated African-American students attending the school.