Little Rock Territorial Cancel

Arkansas Territory Map


Arkansas Territory
1819-1836

       The Spanish had on 30 November 1803 transferred to France a vast tract of land later to be known as the Louisiana Purchase. Just twenty days later, France transferred the same tract to the United States. To the south and west and of this tract lay the lands of New Spain. It was not until 22 February 1819 that the United States and Spain came to an understanding regarding the boundaries.
       Less than five months later, Congress created the Arkansas (Arkansaw) Territory. The new territory ran southwards and westwards to the new Spanish-U.S. treaty line. The territory was twice reduced (1824 and 1828) leaving the eastern portion to become the state of Arkansas in 1836.
       The severed western portion of the original Arkansas Territory became include in the area so named “Indian Country” by the U.S. Congress in 1834. This area came to hold the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations and in time came to be part of the later so called Indian Territory. Some of the 1890 Oklahoma Territory came from the Arkansas Territory and in 1907, the old Indian Territory and the Oklahoma Territory joined to become the State of Oklahoma.
       The first capital of Arkansas was a small but very old town (founded 1686) on the Arkansas River named “Arkansas Post. ” This town usually appears on early maps simply as “Post. ” The capital was transferred in 1820 to Little Rock.

Post Arkansas : Map : John Melish, 1816 : LoC

Treaty with Spain, 22 February 1819
    16TH CONGRESS ] NO. 347 [2d SESSION.

    TREATY WITH SPAIN OF FEBRUARY 22, 1819, AS FINALLY RATIFIED
    COMMUNICATED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FEBRURARY 23, 1819

    Art 3. The boundary line between the two countries west of the Mississippi shall begin on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea, continuing north, along the western bank of that river, to the 32d degree of latitude; thence, by a line due north, to the degree of latitude where it strikes the Rio Roxo of Natchitoches, or Red River; then, following the course of the Rio Roxo westward, to the degree of longitude 100 west from London, and 23 from Washington; then, crossing the said Red river, and running thence, by a line due north, to the river Arkansas; thence, following the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas, to its source, in latitude 42 north; and thence, by that parallel of latitude, to the South Sea--the whole being as laid down in Melish’s map of the United States, published at Philadelphia, improved to the 1st of January, 1818. But if the source of the Arkansas river shall be found to fall north or south of latitude 42, then the line shall run from the said source due south or north, as the case may be, till it meets the said parallel of latitude 42, and thence, along the said parallel, to the South Sea--all the islands in the Sabine, and the said Red and Arkansas rivers, throughout the course thus described, to belong to the United States; but the use of the waters and the navigation of the Sabine to the sea, and of the said rivers Roxo and Arkansas, throughout the extent of the said boundary, on their respective banks, shall be common to the respective inhabitants of both nations ...
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    Statutes at Large:
    Sixteenth Congress Sess. II, No 347 1819 (excerpt pp. 127-128)
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Arkansaw Territory, 5 July 1819
    “Part of the Missouri territory after July 4, 1819, to form a separate territory to be called Arkansaw.”

    STATUTE II
    March 2, 1819
    CHAP. XLIX.--An Act establishing a separate territorial government in the southern part of the territory of Missouri. (a)
           Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled
    , That from and after the fourth day of July next, all that part of the territory of Missouri which lies South of a line, beginning on the Mississippi river, at thirty-six degrees, north latitude, running thence west to the river St. Francois; thence, up the same, to thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude ; and thence, west to the western territorial boundary line; shall, for the purposes of a territorial government, constitute a separate territory, and be called the Arkansaw territory ...
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    Statutes at Large:
    Fifteenth Congress Sess. II, CH 40 1819 (excerpt pp. 493-4)
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Reduced, 26 May 1824

    “Course of the western boundary line of the territory of Arkansas.”

    STATUTE I.
    May 26, 1824.
    CHAP. CLV,--An Act to fix the western boundary line of the territory of Arkansas, and or other purposes. (a)
           Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the western boundary line of the territory of Arkansas shall begin at a point forty miles west of the south-west corner of the state of Missouri, and run south to the right bank of the Red River, and thence, down the river, and with the Mexican boundary, to the line of the state of Louisiana, any law heretofore made to the contrary notwithstanding
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    Statutes at Large:
    Eighteenth Congress Sess. I, CH 155 1824 (excerpt p. 40)
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Reduced, 6 May 1828
    Treaty with the Western Cherokee, May 6, 1828.

           ART. 1. The Western boundary of Arkansas shall be, and the same is, hereby defined, viz: A line shall be run, commencing on Red River, at the point where the Eastern Choctaw line strikes said River, and run due North with said line to the River Arkansas, thence in a direct line to the South West corner of Missouri ...
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    Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties.
    Vol. II (Treaties) in part. Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904. (excerpt p. 288)
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Indian country established, 30 June 1834
    “Indian Country annexed, for legal purposes, to the district of Missouri, &c.”

    CHAP. CLXI,--An act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontiers.
           ...
           Sec. 24. And be it further enacted, That for the sole purpose of carrying this act into effect, all that part of the Indian country west of the Mississippi river, that is bounded north by the north line of lands assigned to the Osage tribe of Indians, produced east to the state of Missouri: west, by the Mexican possessions; south, by Red river; and east, by the west line of the territory of Arkansas and the state of Missouri, shall be, and hereby is, annexed to the territory of Arkansas; and that for the purpose aforesaid, the residue of the Indian country west of the said Mississippi river shall be, and hereby is, annexed to the judicial district of Missouri; and for the purpose aforesaid, the several portions of Indian country east of the said Mississippi river, shall be, and are hereby, severally annexed to the territory in which they are situate ...
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    Statutes at Large:
    Twenty-third Congress Sess. I, CH 161 1834 (excerpt p. 733)
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Arkansas Statehood, 15 June 1836.
    Arkansas admitted into the Union; Boundaries

    STATUTE I.
    June 15, 1836.
    CHAP. C,--An Act for the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union, and to provide for the due execution of the laws of the United States, within the same, and for other purposes.
           Whereas, the people of the Territory of Arkansas, did, on the thirtieth day of January in the present year by a convention of delegates, called and assembled for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and State Government, which constitution and State Government, so formed, is republican: and whereas, the number of inhabitants within the said Territory exceeds forty-seven thousand seven hundred persons, computed according to the rule prescribed by the constitution of the United States; and the said convention have, in their behalf, asked the Congress of the United States to admit the said Territory into the Union as a State, on an equal footing with the original States:
           Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the State of Arkansas shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever, and the said State shall consist of all the territory included within the following boundaries, to wit: beginning in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river, on the parallel of thirty-six degrees north latitude, running from thence west, with the said parallel of latitude, to the Saint Francis river; thence up the middle of the main channel of said river to the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north; from thence west to the southwest corner of the State of Missouri; and from thence to be bounded on the west, to the north bank of Red river, by the lines described in the first article of the treaty between the United States and the Cherokee nation of Indians west of the Mississippi, made and concluded at the city of Washington, on the 26th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight; and to be bounded on the south side of Red river by the Mexican boundary line, to the northwest corner of the State of Louisiana; thence east with the Louisiana State line, to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence up the middle of the main channel of the said river, to the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude, the point of beginning ...
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    Statutes at Large:
    Twenty-fourth Congress Sess. I, CH 100 1836 (excerpt pp. 50-51)
    (Also see Act of June 23, 1836, ch. 120, page 58)
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