Six Regions of Arkansas
Essay title: Six Regions of Arkansas
The Six Regions of Arkansas
Arkansas has two significantly different portions, the uplands and the lowlands. However, with closer inspection one can ultimately divide these segments into six distinct regions. Each of these regions was developed by the adaptation of early settlers to each unique area.

The Ozark Mountains division occupies the northwestern corner of the state. The flat-topped mountains located there are the remnants of worn plateaus whose horizontal layers were forced upward millions of years ago. They are covered with a highlands forest of oak and hickory. The first people to live in the Ozarks were a group of Indians known as bluff dwellers. They are named this because many times they made their homes under overhanging bluffs. By the time the first white settlers arrived here the bluff dwellers had been replaced by the Osage Indians. The Osage are known for their wondering lifestyle and aggressive tendencies. The settlers to this area soon adopted this lifestyle for themselves; however, eventually settled down and became farmers. The areas that were suitable for farming were few and far between. Cash crop agriculture was rarely ever practical in the rocky soils of the Ozarks, and most of the residents moved away when their subsistence economy became intolerable. The isolation caused by the small number of appropriate farm areas facilitated in the development in what was termed the mountaineer or hillbilly lifestyle. This way of life is characterized by being self sufficient, which in turn caused a suspicion of outsiders.

The Ouachita Mountains are another division of Arkansas. These mountains are characterized by long, narrow ridges of folded rock. The valleys of the Ouachitas tend to be larger than those of the Ozarks and are fertile enough for large scale agriculture. The Caddo Indians are the first people to live in these mountains. They wondered through the mountains hunting and fishing but also lived in villages made possible by agricultural crops. Early settlers began clearing the valleys of timber to make way for large plantations. However, on the ridges of the Ouachitas people continued to live a harsh pioneer life much like that of the Ozark mountaineer. However, the isolation that was so important in developing the Ozarks culture was never as prevalent in the Ouachitas because of the combination of rich and poor lifestyles. The culture which did develop was a varied blend of upland and lowland, poor mountaineer and rich planter.

The Arkansas River Valley is the trough that lies between the two major mountain systems in Arkansas, the Ozark and the Ouachita. Although this valley has characteristic from both mountain systems it also has unique features of its own. Some of these features include flat topped mesas or monadnocks such as Mt. Nebo and Petit Jean Mountain. These monadnocks are topped with sandstone with a layer of shale underneath. Similar to the Ozarks, the Valley has bluff shelters used by ancient Indians. The makeup of the Valley is a rising and falling upland, which has been very important to the people who settled here. The first white people to settle in the Valley found life to be inhospitable, however, the rolling nature of the Valley allowed people to quickly clear timber to make way for large farms. Another factor that aided in the development of the area was the presence of the Arkansas River, which became an early path of communication. Cash crop agriculture soon became important in the valley and has remained important to this day.

The Mississippi Alluvial Plain occupies the eastern third of the state and is a land fashioned by rivers. The ocean bottom sand and gravel that was once here has been swept away and sand, silt, and clay has taken its place. These deposits were carried by the rivers that covered most of the land, with the exception of a high terrace occupied by the tall grasses and flowers of the Grand Prairie. The early inhabitants of this land were Indians who lived in a number of large villages. A single Indian chief would control several communities that surrounded one central village that often included a mound. These mounds were used in religious rituals. Early explorers in Arkansas found that these Indians maintained large scale farms. The first settlers to the Mississippi Plain found and abundance of wildlife, however, the Delta was also a harsh, uninviting land. The river systems that created this area also brought with them floods, mosquitoes, and malaria. Despite the draw backs men sat out to conquer this land due to its deep, fertile soil. They began to take control of the land with the slave labor, and eventually completely

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Valleys Of The Ouachitas And Adaptation Of Early Settlers. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from