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A map of ArkansasArkansas is situated in the southeastern region of the United States. Eastern Arkansas forms part of the Mississippi Plain. This lowland region is covered with rich alluvial soils spread across the flat landscape by the repeated flooding of the Mississippi River. The Arkansas flows into the Mississippi in an area known as the Arkansas Delta. In the southwestern part of the state lie the more undulating lands of Grand Prairie. Northwestern Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau. The Arkansas River Valley separates the Ozark Mountains from the Ouachita Mountains further south. These ranges form part of the US Interior Highlands, the only major mountainous region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. The densely forested belt stretching from the Arkansas Delta to Texas is known as the Arkansas Timberlands. 

A view of the Ozarks, featuring a bend in the Buffalo River
The Arkansas River near the Petit Jean State Park


The name Arkansas (pronounced AH-kan-saw) is a French pronunciation of a word in the language of the Native American Quapaw people, akakaze, which means "land of downriver people”. The name has the same roots as the name for the state of Kansas, named after the local Kansa people, another Siouan language speaking tribe. 

In 1881, the pronunciation of Arkansas with its final "s" silent was made official by an act of the state legislature.

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