Colonial Arkansas, 1686–1804


A Social and Cultural History
Morris S. Arnold
978-1-55728-317-7 (paper)
December 1991


Add to Cart

Before Arkansas was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it was claimed first by France, then later by Spain. Both of these cultures profoundly influenced the development of the region and its inhabitants, as evidenced in the many cultural artifacts that constitute the social, economic, and political history of colonial Arkansas.

Based on exhaustive research in French, Spanish, and American archives, Colonial Arkansas 1686–1804 is an engaging and eminently readable story of the state’s colonial period. Examining a wide range of subjects—including architecture, education, agriculture, amusements, and diversions of the period, and the Europeans’ social structures—Judge Morris S. Arnold explores and describes the relations between settlers and the indigenous Indian tribes, the early military and its activities, and the legal traditions observed by both the Spanish and French governments.

This lively and illuminating study is sure to remain the definitive history of the state’s colonial period and will be equally embraced by scholars, historians, and curious Arkansans eager to develop a fuller understanding of their rich and varied heritage.

Morris S. Arnold received his LL.B. from the University of Arkansas in 1968 and holds LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees from Harvard Law School, where he specialized in legal history. Also the author of Unequal Laws unto a Savage Race: European Legal Traditions in Arkansas, 1686-1836, Arnold is United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit. He lives in Little Rock with his wife Gail.

“Arnold is to be commended for writing this well-researched, highly readable account of colonial Arkansas. Attractively printed with necessary photographs and illustrations, scholars and general readers will find this book valuable and entertaining.”
Journal of Southern History

“Judge Arnold expresses himself in a lucid and fluid style, making even arcane subjects arouse the interest, and satisfy the curiosity, of lay persons as well as professional historians.”
Louisiana History

1992 Certificate of Commendation from American Association for State and Local History